Monday, November 15, 2010

Annexed - Sharon Dogar - Review and Giveaway

I look out the window into the street. . . I'm meant to be at Mr. Frank's workplace in a few hours. We're arriving separately, all of us. We'll walk into the building just like it was any other visit--only this time we'll never walk out again. 

What was it like hiding in the Annex with Anne Frank? To be with Anne every day while she wrote so passionately in her diary? To be in a secret world within a world at war--alive on the inside, everything dying on the outside?
Peter Van Pels and his family have lost their country, their home, and their freedom, and now they are fighting desperately to remain alive. 
Look through Peter's eyes.
He has a story to tell, too. 
Are you listening? 

Title: Annexed
Author: Sharon Dogar
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Holocaust Literature
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: October 4, 2010
Source: Received from publicist. I received two separate copies of this book from two separate companies. Many thanks goes to Anna from FSB Media, and to Anita from Thomas Allen & Son for sending me this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
My rating: 5/5

Annexed is a fictionalized, albeit harrowing account of those who were hiding in the Annex. It is given voice through Peter Van Pels perspective of the events that happened in the Annex, and the aftermath of their discovery. 
Annexed is a poignant and heartbreaking read. Though the people are real, and most of Dogar's writing is truth, there is a large portion that has been fictionalized as she is writing from Peter's point of view. Not much is known, and Dogar does take some liberties with his character. He, along with his family, the Frank's, and Dr. Pfeffer shared the living space that is the Annex. Quarters were cramped, and it was a struggle to survive as long as they did without being found. His views of Anne, progress over time, and it was quite intriguing to read what he may have thought about her. 
Once the story progresses to life in the death camps, their story becomes all the more horrific. Dogar portrays a vivid re-imagining of what life was like in the camps. The absolute torment that every person was put through created a stark portrayal of the anguish and horrific conditions that those in the camps were submitted to. Unfortunately, we see the worst, yet the best, that man is capable of. How anyone could subject another human being to the depravity seen in the death camps, is beyond me. I don't think I fully realized how agonizing life was for those in the camps until I read Annexed. Overall, I knew what had happened, but hadn't pictured it to the extent that is shown in Annexed
Peter's portrayal is an honest one, and we read his thoughts from the Annex, as well as from when he was held at Mauthausen. Though he also gives voice to certain feelings, I don't think it detracts from the novelization as it brings into perspective that he was in his prime as a teenager during the Holocaust. He lost so much, as did many others. 
The tone of the book is dark, haunting, and gripping. The further I progressed in reading Annexed, the more dismayed I became. The cruelty of the human race is disheartening, but there is yet hope for those who would rise against it. 
Overall, I believe this is a book that should be read by everyone. It is an emotionally draining read, and will leave you sobbing, but it is one of those books that must be read. We need to remember. 


I ended up receiving two copies of this book, and in saying, am hoping to give away one hardcover copy of Annexed. 
The giveaway is open to those in the US and Canada only. (Sorry to those of you who are international.) 
It will run until December 2, 2010.
Please fill out THIS FORM to be entered. Though comments are appreciated, they will not be counted as entries. Thank you. 


Marie said...

I've heard a few things about this book, I never finished Anne Frank but it was a book I frequently checked out as a kid.

Great review and thanks for the giveaway!

Kari (Flamingo1325) said...

This one definitely looks really good- and I love the idea of it. Thanks for the awesome review and giveaway =)

Tammy said...

I'm reading this book this week. It seems fitting during this holiday season. We take so much for granted.
It is indeed an emotionally draining read but like you said we must never forget.
Thanks for the amazing review.

Chutzpah said...

I'm reading this one now, and I know it might be rough, but it's definitely very important as you say (and good writing, too).

Steve Capell said...

I would very much like to read this book. Thanks for hosting this giveaway opportunity.