Monday, March 4, 2019

"Stolen Girl"

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is the acclaimed author of over sixteen picture books and novels. Her earlier picture books include Enough, Silver Threads, Daughter of War, Aram's Choice and The Best Gifts.

In 2013 she won the Silver Birch Fiction Award for Making Bombs for Hitler and the Red Cedar Award for Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan's Rescue from War.

Skrypuch applied the Page 69 Test to her new book, Stolen Girl, the latest volume in her WWII trilogy, and reported the following:
From page 69:
I flipped the page so quickly that I nearly tore it.

“Careful,” said Ivan, smoothing down the crease in the glossy paper.

My mind was still swirling between past and present. I clutched onto the side of the counter so I wouldn’t fall.

Ivan looked at me strangely. “What’s wrong, Nadia?”

I took a deep breath and tried to clear my thoughts. “I am fine,” I said. I wanted to get this over with. “Let’s look at some other colors.”

Next were pinks and reds—everything from the palest blush of that long-ago pink brocade dress to the violent red of blood. No, no, no.

The next page showed blues. My hand reached out of its own accord and touched a pale mauve. A wisp of scent tickled the edge of my brain. Lilac bushes in a much-loved garden.

“You’d like your room to be that color?” Ivan asked.

And I surprised myself. Yes, I did want that color. Lilac would make me feel safe. I still wasn’t happy about the thought of being closed up in a small room all night, but the color would be soothing. And maybe I could convince Ivan to leave the door off.

He handed a lilac paint chip to the clerk and ordered one can. We walked home, carrying the can between us.
The entirety of page 69 is a nice microcosm of Stolen Girl.

Nadia is a survivor of World War II and she's just immigrated to Canada with her adoptive parents. Now that she's in a place of safety, she begins to have disturbing flashes of memory that make her wonder who she really is. She fears that her family were Nazis and she even remembers meeting Hitler face to face, but she has other memories as well and these ones don't fit in with a privileged Nazi past. In this scene, her adoptive father, Ivan, takes her to the paint store so she can choose a color for her new bedroom. She has a violent reaction to the page of yellow chips, reminding her of yellow stars on prisoners' clothing and a certain girl in a yellow dress, just before page 69 begins.
Visit Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's website.

My Book, The Movie: Stolen Girl.

Writers Read: Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch.

--Marshal Zeringue