Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review: Annexed by Sharon Dogar

 Sharon Dogar, Houghton Mifflin, 2010, 17.00hb, 341pp, 978-0-547-50195-6, 12 and up

Author Sharon Dogar has bravely entered Anne Frank’s annex to tell Peter Van Pels’ compelling story. Readers might be hesitant, as I was, to cross the boundary into such hallowed ground, but it is well worth it.   Dogar has fleshed out the account of the families hiding in the Amsterdam attic during World War II and given us another view of Anne, through Peter’s watchful eye.  She has taken great care to keep events historically accurate, while at the same time providing Peter with a depth unavailable in Anne’s diary.   Dogar tells Peter’s story in first person narrative and begins his tale as he is dying in the camps after being found in the annex.  Readers who followed Anne’s journey along in her diary will feel the same pull and compassion toward Peter.  This can be read as a stand-alone book, but will work as a wonderful companion to The Diary of Anne Frank.  Dogar provides readers with additional information in a preface and author’s note.  A list of books, dvd’s and websites is also included, which teacher’s will love.  

1 comment:

Gehayi said...

I think it's worth noting that Anne Frank's cousin objected to this book, saying, ""Anne was not the child she is in this book. I also do not think that their terrible destiny should be used to invent some fictitious story."

And frankly, no pun intended, I have to agree. This isn't an alternate universe story. It's not a story about a fictional character. This purports to be an accurate portrayal of Peter Van Pels (depicted as shy in Anne's diary) and his sexual affair with young Anne--because Dogar believes that, since they were teenagers, they MUST have been overwhelmed by hormones and therefore MUST have slept together.

Like I said--if this were an AU, I wouldn't mind. But I keep seeing it referred to as "a companion book to Anne Frank's diary"--which gives the impression that it is not only historically accurate but a historical document. And I'm not comfortable with that.