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FORGOTTEN FIRE by Adam Bagdasarian

FORGOTTEN FIRE

By Adam Bagdasarian

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-7894-2627-7
Publisher: DK Publishing

Bagdasarian’s moving story of the little-told horror of the Armenian genocide is based on the recorded account by his great uncle. The narrative follows Vahan Kendarian from age 12 to 16, from a somewhat spoiled and confident school cut-up to a somber and steely young man. He watches as his brothers are shot and his sister takes poison and dies to avoid rape. He is molested himself, and nurses several companions to their deaths. He also builds a sense of his own inner character as he puts on many outward disguises, traveling from one dangerous situation to the next. If the narrative itself seems to wander and stumble through these experiences imparting little sense of direction, it does add to the mood of confusion, despair, and occasional unfounded hope. The lack of contextual material may frustrate some readers (WWI is not mentioned, and the presence of German and Russian military in Turkey not fully explained), but the short foreword does give just enough information to set the scene, and plunges readers, along with Vahan, into a terrifying situation they may not fully comprehend at first. There is very little material available to young readers on this subject. Kerop Bedoukian’s Some of Us Survived (1978) and David Kherdian’s Newbery Honor book The Road from Home (1979) are still in print, but this should find a new and appreciative readership. (Fiction. 12+)