I could not bring myself to title this post “Holiday Giving,” but I will continue that theme over the Thanksgiving Weekend. Because Sharon Dogar’s novel, Annexed, is about the Holocaust, it’s definitely not a light holiday read. That being said, I can think of no better book to be reading during Thanksgiving. I’m haunted by it, but among other things, it is forcing me to slow down and think about what we are capable of doing to one another in the name of race and religion.
Annexed is told from the viewpoint of Peter van Pels, the boy whose family was with the Franks in the famous Amsterdam annex. Because I’m listening to this in my car, I feel like Peter is talking to me and while it’s incredibly heartbreaking, it’s also feels very intimate – like this voice is coming to me from another place. At one point, I had the experience of feeling like I couldn’t listen anymore, and then (this really happened), the next line was Peter saying: “are you going to turn away from me? ” I felt my eyes welling up in the car as I promised not only to keep listening, but to make myself think more deeply about the enormity of those events. It hurt, but in a way that felt right – if that makes any sense.
Annexed is a book for mature teens and adults. Peter is a teenage boy and he wonders and dreams about all kinds of things. He feels real, as of course, he was.