Krista the Krazy Kataloguer's Reviews > Aram's Choice

Aram's Choice by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
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This short novel centers around Aram, a survivor of the Armenian genocide in Turkey during World War I, and his decision to immigrate to Canada, eventually settling at an orphanage in Georgetown, Ontario. There are few novels and non-fiction books for children on this subject, and even fewer on survivors immigrating to Canada, so this is a welcome addition. The author brought the time period to life, and vividly depicted the journey through Europe to Canada. I was particularly struck by the constant references to food, which, to boys who were used to having little to eat, meant so much to them. The author's description of a boy eating a buttered biscuit made me want to go bake some! I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in human rights and in the immigrant experience.
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Marsha Hi Krista,
Aram's Choice (and its sequel, Call Me Aram) was recently made into a play which just finished its run in Georgetown Ontario.

message 2: by Noran (new)

Noran Miss Pumkin nicely done!

Krista the Krazy Kataloguer Marsha, any chance the play may be performed here in the U.S.? Did you adapt the books to play form yourself? If so, do you plan on publishing the play? I'd love to see it!

Marsha Hi Krista,
Thanks for the lovely review! The play could well end up in various cities in the US where there is a large Armenian community. It created a buzz here -- was sold out every night.

I didn't do the adaptation myself. It was written by Sam Hancock.

Marsha Thanks, Noran.

Krista the Krazy Kataloguer I have hope that maybe it will come to Syracuse, then. I suspect there's an Armenian community there, or there used to be. A number of years ago I read a book called Rebirth by Elise Hagopian Taft, a woman who survived the genocide and immigrated to Syracuse. It was very interesting. Have you read it?

Marsha Hi Krista,
I haven't read that particular one, but I have read a number of memoirs by survivors. For my three Armenian genocide young adult novels, my primary form of research was survivor memoirs, missionary diaries, diplomatic correspondence and other first person accounts. For the Aram books, I relied primarily on a series of taped interviews with the actual boys. These interviews were done 50 years after the Georgetown Boys came to Canada and they are long -- some 6 and 8 hours. The tapes are housed at an archive in Toronto and I would drive there in the morning and listen all day, taking notes, then drive back the next day and do it all again. All of the incidents in Aram's Choice really happened.

A good book on the topic is Survivors: An Oral History Of The Armenian Genocide, written by husband and wife team Donald and Lorna Miller. They compiled 100 survivor accounts and categorized the common experiences into themes. It's a compelling book. Hard to see how anyone can claim the genocide didn't happen.

Krista the Krazy Kataloguer I had the feeling that all the incidents in the book were based on true events. I'll have to add Survivors to my reading list! Have you read The Burning Tigris: the Armenian Genocide and America's Response by Peter Balakian? Balakian is from around my area somewhere-- down in Madison County, I think. He's primarily a poet, and has written other books on the genocide.

Marsha I know about Peter Balakian's books but I avoid reading any books that are someone else's opinion about the genocide. It's such a politicized issue that I like to stick to first person and contemporary accounts. I also avoid reading novels or poetry set during that time. My fear is that I might subconsciously pick up a bit of inaccuracy or a turn of phrase that isn't my own.

booklady Thanks again Krista! I get the best recommendations and reviews from you! ☺ God bless!

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