Saturday, January 7, 2012
A Review of 'Annexed' by Sharon Dogar (Audio Book)
What was it like hiding in the annex with Anne Frank? To be with Anne Frank 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?"
I've been having trouble finding time to just sit down and read a physical book. While I wasn't originally aware of this book when it came to creating my 'To Be Read' list, I'm pleased that my library carried an audio book version of this book.
Listening to this book seems to be the way to go because of the way it's written. "Are you listening?" Even though Peter Van Pels never actually wrote this, it was like having Peter actually speak to you, telling another side of the story Anne Frank told in her diary but then going farther and talking about being in a death camp, up until the day he supposedly died (that's the tricky part about the Holocaust-- so many deaths and only so much documentation).
With Anne, we have an idea of what it was like to grow up as a girl into a woman in the secret annex, but now we have an idea (of course it's speculation, because this is historical fiction, but some of this can be backed up with Anne's diary) of what it was like to grow from a boy into a man in the same setting. The only difference is, Peter seems to delve a little bit deeper into such topics as love, questioning religion, that sort of thing. Things that are quite normal for a teenager to go through as they discover just who they are.
One thing that really worked for this audio book was the use of many voices, that is, multiple voice actors. It was really neat and quite effective.
Something that I didn't like was the person playing Peter. Very often, he would drift into this dreamy, deep-in-thought sort of voice. This became particularly annoying when Peter was in Auschwitz, because this part spanned over several months (that sounds terrible when I put it that way).
At the end of the audio book, the author herself spoke. There, she dictated to her listeners a rough timeline of everyone in the annex-- who they were, when they died, how they died, and how old they were when they died. It was absolutely shocking.
Overall, a very well-written piece of historical fiction. It felt very real and it was insightful in places where I don't remember Anne Frank ever offering an opinion.
I give 'Annexed':