Friday, December 03, 2010
You've probably read Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. If not, surely you've heard her name and know that she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II. But Anne and her family were not alone--another family went with them and one of those people was a teenage boy named Peter. Annexed tells the story of the hiding and what happened afterward from Peter's point of view.
The book begins with Peter lying in a medical ward of a death camp,remembering the events of the past. The night his mother told him their family would join the Franks in hiding Peter ran to the house of the girl he loved, determined to run away with her. Instead, he watched as she was forced from her home by Nazis. He never saw her again. Haunted by the idea that he was a coward, Peter went with his family to the Franks'. Quiet on the outside, at first labeled "dull" by the irrepressible Anne, Peter's inner life is much more active--and tormented. As he grows closer to Anne, the Nazis move closer to the annex.
Beautiful and heartbreaking, this is a skillful and emotional reimagining of a historical event the reader desperately wishes could end another way.