The Hunger is local author, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch‘s very first novel. It intertwines the current experience of a young girl struggling with an eating disorders with the historical tragedy of the Armenian genocide. This novel has a Brantford connection which will engage young adult readers that borrow this book from the Franklin Street Little Free Library.
The novel begins with Paula, a 15 year old student who strives for perfection and to be thinner. She is a strong student who works hard and is helpful at home. She is assigned a project about her family heritage and discovers that her grandmother, Pauline, has a secret history and an Armenian heritage.
Paula discovers scant information on the Armenian genocide and as she researches the starvation, massacres and horrendous abuse, she becomes emaciated and her own life becomes at risk. The two stories collide as Paula experiences her own health crisis. She begins to understand more about her grandmother’s life as she fights for her own.
This is a great historical novel that should be part of the curriculum for senior elementary school students. In her first novel, Skyrpuch has educated the reader about this little known piece of history through a expertly woven tale much like her subsequent novels like Stolen Child, Dance of the Banished and Making Bombs for Hitler.
I personally love to read novels with local references and happened to attend both Agnes Hodge School and Ryerson School many years ago. Being local, it was easy to imagine Paula running up the former library stairs (now Laurier Brantford) and spending time in the Brantford General Hospital. It is engaging to visualize the locations that are referenced in the book. Don’t think that this novel is ONLY for young adults, although it is a quick read for an adult (one evening) it is a story that is difficult to put down!
I would like to thank Marsha for donating this book (and others to be reviewed in future posts) to the Franklin Street Little Free Library and invite others to borrow it and comment below after reading it.