Synopsis from Goodreads:
Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?
In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.
As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?
Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.
My take on this book:
When I first started reading Annexed, I wasn't sure how I would feel about it, I had read The Diary of Ann Frank as a teen and wasn't sure how much of the story I actually remembered, but "Annexed" transported me back to Ann Frank, giving me a whole new perspective on life in the Annex, because we hear the story from the voice of Peter Van Pel, a young man just about to turn 16, who was hesitant about hiding out with the Franks, actually not really liking either of the Frank daughters but in the end, the families become close, and its easy to believe that young Peter could have fallen in love with Ann.
This book is broken into two sections, with the first section giving us a glimpse of life in the Annex thru the eyes of Peter. He is a typical 16 year old boy, he grieves the loss of his first girlfriend Liese, wondering what might have happened to her when her family is taken away, knowing he and his family is going into hiding with the Frank's but dreading it. The finality of what is to be as the door closes and he spends the next two years in the Annex, the close quarters become stifling. He didn't really even like the Frank family in the beginning, but after spending time together he and Ann become close. While she expresses herself thru words he draws, and they both talk about what they will do once the war is over. Unfortunately they never get the chance to find out.
The second section of the book is The Camps, which allows us to follow the Franks and the Van Pel's as they are taken on a train to the concentration camps. While it is a fictionalized account of what Peter experiences in the camp, they are reconstructed from others who survived.The accounts are so real that you can feel Peter's suffering. Hating the person he had to become in order to survive, often wondering if he was the only Jew left. In the epilogue the author gives us an actual account of what happened to the eight from the Annex.
The author does an outstanding job of weaving fact with fiction,the story of Peter and the concentration camp is something I will never forget. A thought provoking story that puts a different spin on the time spent in the annex. A book that shouldn't be missed!
Thanks to Anna Suknov at FSB Media for providing me a copy of this book for review!