Friday, 3 June 2011
Annexed - Sharon Dogar
I got it out mostly based on the fact that it had something to do with Anne Frank. Having read The Diary of Anne Frank after seeing the 5 episode BBC dramatisation of the book, this seemed like the perfect book that I would like, as well as the fact I am doing my History GCSE on Tuesday on Germany. I thought this might help.
I was sceptical about Sharon Dogar though. I tried to read Waves a couple of years ago and after 30 pages, I gave up. I hated it, the word Charley was in every single sentence and it drove me mad. So I've been ignoring her ever since...until now.
Synopsis: 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? 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. Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps.
Review: First thing first, this is SUCH A HARD REVIEW TO WRITE. I don't know why but it just seems hard and nothing much really to say in a way. Sorry.
Having loved all my past experiences of The Diary of Anne Frank, I thought that I would love this one especially as Peter has always intrigued me. No-one knows very much about him apart from the romances described in Anne Frank's diary and that she hated him at the beginning but as she grew older, started to have comfort and companionship in him.
However, this books was...well average. There were good bits mostly but there was just something missing that you normally get in books like this one that are re-telling history. Anne Frank personally is one of my heroes, as well as Jane Austen (theme of writing here) and so I may be a bit more critical because of that.
My baddies for the novel. It was just too...poetical. Too vague. Too much trying to make you feel sad. I started not to like Peter's voice because he kind of got a tad annoying after a while. There was also a lot of German words running throughout the book which is fine if you can read German but not if you can't...like me. There was no translation in to German on most of the words and it took me a German dictionary or to find out much later on, what they actually meant.
Peter's voice, I think, was just bland. There was no real engaging tone to it for me, I just wasn't completely interested. Even the BIG scene where they get found out for living in the Annexe wasn't great. There was no building tension for me. No spark. No sad moment. There was just a description of what the Gestapo said and their reactions to it and then going outside.
The book is split into two (well more like the first bit 3/4 and the other 1/4). The first part describes what life was like in the Annexe: how Peter got to know Anne, how he coped with being stuck in there, how his real life haunted him throughout being there. That part is the best, it's interesting and well-researched. It's also great as it is the events of Anne Frank's diary, just from Peter's point of view. I think it could be confusing to those that have never read her diary as they do mention things happening that aren't described or mentioned before, as well as the other characters.
The second bit was...alright. I think it was that bit which let the book down and made me not enjoy it as much. It showed definitely what it was like to be in a concentration camp and the way they treated you but for me, if writing about that, I would add shock, sadness - things like that and I didn't feel any of those emotions. It was just bland as I said. The footnotes are both interesting and annoying. They tell you which bits aren't exactly true which angered me slightly as why change the diary? Maybe for fictional preferences but still why - Anne Frank's diary has been read by millions and she is the role she wanted to be: a novelist. I don't see why she should change it for the benefit of her story telling.
The bit that really did grip me was the epilogue. It describes the way each person died and when. It is so interesting and shocking to read and really shocking. What is so tragic about this story is that most of the people that lived in the Annexe died within days/months of the camp being liberated. For both Peter and Anne, they died within days of it being liberated.
Overall, Annexe was an average read. For me, there was no attempt to make me feel these emotions. However, it really did give an insight into what it was like to live at both the Annexe and the concentration camp. It also showed Anne's personality and Peter's thoughts clearly which was interesting. The idea has so much potential to be a great, interesting, fabulous book but it just lacked something - it just didn't feel right for me.
A good attempt at it but nothing amazing. I would recommend reading The Diary of Anne Frank before tackle this one.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5
Author's Website: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/401544.Sharon_Dogar
Publisher: Andersen Press
Challenges: British Books Challenge, Historical Fiction Challenge