Review: Annexed by Sharon Dogar

Summary of Annexed by Sharon Dogar:

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 (Source:Goodreads).

Disclaimer: I read this book via NetGalley.

My Review of Annexed by Sharon Dogar:

I’m not sure how to review a book like this. It is an absolutely brilliant book, but certainly not one I can claim to have enjoyed. Who could enjoy such a story? That being said, I consider Annexed one of the best books I have ever read. It is a moving testimony to bravery, pain, suffering and hope. The Holocaust is not a time in history that we want to remember, but it is a time that we cannot let be forgotten. Books like this serve as a reminder of the lowest of humanity…but also the highest. One cannot call Nazis vermin without also naming the Jews heroes.

I cannot recommend Annexed by Sharon Dogar highly enough to be the one you choose to read so you can remember.

The writing is so clear: so simply written and so full of emotion. I feel like I have lost people I know. In many ways, a lot of us know this group: the Frank and Van Pels families. We first learned about their years of hiding in the Annex through Anne Frank’s diary. And here, Sharon Dogar takes us on a fictionalized account of Peter’s journey.

The best way I can think of to describe the way I felt while reading this book is to say that I feel like I was shoved headfirst into Peter’s pensieve. I was an invisible onlooker during every part of his story, from the Annex to Auschwitz. It has been a long time since I have been able to so clearly see a movie version of the story I am reading play in my head. I sure chose a wrenching story to be so immersed in. Sharon Dogar mastered the ability to shed light on the way Peter must have felt while hiding in the Annex. She described not only the feelings of frustration and and fear and longing for the outside…but all the normal things a teenage boy goes through. She balances them all perfectly and makes Peter really seem like a person. That is what makes reading this book so hard – you are getting to know and love a person that you already know has a horrible fate.There are so many gripping passages in this book, I could quote all day long. Sometimes it was the expressions of hope and love that were more jarring than the ones of war or fear. Regardless, the voice that Sharon Dogargives her characters will get a grip on you that doesn’t let go, even when the story is over.

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“I don’t exist anymore. They’ve turned me into a nobody so that they can wipe me off the face of the Earth.”

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“Maybe I’m ashamed because it’s hard not to feel ashamed, when just being born is something you can be killed for.”

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“I know that sometimes love is as hard to bear as hate, that it can hurt as much.”

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“Even if you replace my name with a number, give me no spoon to eat with, or clothes, or shoes to walk in – so that I am forced to live and eat like one. I am not an animal.”

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“No, I was not hungry. Hungry is a word that you can understand. This hunger is not in my stomach, it is in my skin – my bones. If you cut my legs off they would walk toward a bowl of soup without me.”

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Annexed by Sharon Dogar is a book that should be read.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Vickie Ramage March 6, 2014, 5:10 am

    I agree – I say I enjoyed this book but in reality I use that word in place of ‘this book chewed me up, spat me out and then stamped on my feelings’! I was really worried at first as it received a fair bit of controversy for even attempting his story, but she handled it brilliantly. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read.

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