Nobody's Child

by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
ISBN: 1550024426

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A Review of: Nobody∆s Child
by M.J. Fishbane

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's sequel to her 1999 novel, Nobody's Child, continues the story of three orphaned children during the Adana Massacre of 1909. Both of these books offer gripping stories. One can read them separately, but in order to see these character's lives in all their depth, I would recommend reading them both. That way the reader can fill in plot gaps, and also see how Skrypuch plays with the narrative.
In The Hunger, Paula's eating disorder is paralleled with the events taking place during her Armenian grandmother's childhood. When Paula falls off the balance beam in gym class, she is chastised by a fellow classmate. Mortified, she decides that in order to protect herself and earn the respect of her classmates, she is going to lose weight. Meanwhile, she receives an assignment in history class to research her family's past. Paula discovers that her grandmother was one of the deportees during the Armenian Genocide. As Paula's body deteriorates, she undergoes a mystical experience: she finds herself inside the body of her great-grandmother Marta, and experiences first-hand the hardship her grandmother endured.
In Nobody's Child, Skrypuch stays within the historical context. The children, Mariam, Marta and Onnig, are joined by their orphaned friend Kevork when their parents are killed during the Adana massacre. Skrypuch provides alternating perspectives. While Marta is the central voice of experience in the first book, Mariam and Kevork are the focus of this novel. We do not see much of Marta's experience in the sequel. That is why it's worth reading The Hunger (Marta is featured in the second half).
Skrypuch does not stereotype the Armenians or Turks in her novel. Her website refers educators and parents to other websites that provide information on how to teach young people about genocide. Although there are Turkish characters who kill Armenians, and some who are involved in conspiracies and the slave trade, Skrypuch also has Turkish families aiding Armenians and willing to risk their lives to hide and adopt Armenian children.
The one frustration I felt with both of these novels stems from the fact that there's no conclusion. If on the other hand, Skrypuch's plan is to write a trilogy, then she has succeeded in keeping the reader hooked. The characters are so well developed that I really cared about what happened to them. I only hope that Skrypuch is planning to continue their story.

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