Book # 1 in my YA Historical Fiction Challenge is
I got it for Christmas (thank you, Chuck) along with a nonfiction called Anne Frank, The Book, The Life, The Afterlife. Anne is my hero. So when I learned via The Fourth Musketeer that Sharon Dogar had written a book from the viewpoint of Peter, the teen that Anne fell in love with there in the secret annex, I knew it was just a matter of time until I owned that volume.
Dogar did not disappoint me. The book starts fast and scary, then lulls just a bit during those first boring days in the attic when Peter wants nothing to do with Anne. But the relationship changes in a believable fashion - until Anne and Peter are good friends.
I suppose I read the book because I wanted more of Anne, herself. I didn't exactly love Peter's sometimes unfavorable description of her because she's always been larger than life for me. And yet, by her own admission, Anne had many faults and it was good for me to see her through someone else's eyes.
So Peter did give me more of Anne. Conversations that may or may not have happened. Questions that could have been asked. Their sure knowledge that under entirely different circumstances these two teens would not have shown the least bit of interest in each other.
But there was nothing normal about their being locked up together for two years, hiding for fear of their life, hoping for rescue, and above all not being able to make sense of any of it.
Peter asks the questions that all of us do about the Holocaust. Are you there? Are you listening? Can you hear me?
How could anyone do this?
I read Peter's story because I wanted more of Anne but in the end it was Peter I wept for. And not only for him, of course but for all whose story he helped to tell.
Not everyone thinks Sharon Dogar should have told this story but I have to agree with her statement in this article "The problem is that a writer doesn't always choose what they write." So very true.
I, for one, am glad that this story haunted Dogar for 15 years. And I'm grateful that she finally wrote it. Judging from the reviews, lots of others are too. Here's the trailer. Have a look.