Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Annexed Book Launch

Today's blog entry could be considered a little somber, focusing as it does on a new novel from Sharon Dogar, Annexed. This book tells the story of Peter Van Pels, the boy who lived in the same Annexe as Anne. It is a compelling and fascinating story which attempts to answer some of the questions left by Anne's diary and fill in a few gaps. Sharon has handled the subject with great sensitivity and I am sure that whilst this is always going to be a book that many find difficult to read it will win a loyal fan base who appreciate the effort Sharon has contributed and her reasons for writing it.

The book was lauched last week by Andersen Press and Armadillo reviewer Shelly Instone attended, sending this report;

On Wednesday the 8th September I attended the book launch of Sharon Dogar’s Annexed. The narrative follows the fictional story of sixteen-year-old Peter, the boy who lived with Anne Frank during their incarceration due to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The launch was chaired by Julia Eccleshare who provided many searching questions forSharon to consider.

The owner of Anderson Press, Klaus Flugge told the audience how the book had received a mixed reception by critics. He felt this was because “Sharon had stepped on a button that we feel uncomfortable with.”

However, Julia interjected that the novel provided “an incredibly warm view of adolescence. We don’t celebrate it enough: the warmth and passion of it.”

On the question of writing a novel that follows Anne Frank’s diary, Sharon disclosed that she had had read it obsessively. “I felt I had a personal relationship with her. However, after re-reading it in my thirties I felt that Anne’s views were questionable. I was more interested in the views of Peter. What was it like for him? Anne’s descriptions of him are brilliant! What most upsets me is the way Anne’s diary ends: the suddenness of it. I felt quite cheated.”

Julia’s question for Sharon regarding the process of writing gave the audience an insight into how a writer begins the task of building a narrative. “I started writing vignettes of Peter and Anne and Peter’s voice grew from that. Peter’s story gives the reader a clear sense of how the Nazi system worked and how it dehumanised him alongside many other Jews.”

Julia also asked why modern children need to know Anne’s story. Sharon responded by telling the audience that she was: “writing for myself and mydaughter and the many unanswered questions we had of Anne’s diary.”
On that note the evening ended with Julia thanking Sharon for an excellent and thought provoking evening.
For more information the Andersen website is worth a visit.

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