The Road from Home Critical Context - Essay

David Kherdian

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

The Road from Home, a 1980 Newbery Medal Honor Book, is an example of a type of young adult literature that might be classified as “odysseys of survival.” In the 1970’s and 1980’s, the form was used to recount the struggles of young men and women who endured exile, internment, and deportation occurring as a result of war or policies directed against their race, ethnicity, or religion. For the young adult reader, such books offer ordinary individuals who transcend the circumstances of their lives to leave a legacy worth emulating.

Dumehjian is one such individual whose life offers personal testimony to the spirit that causes one not only to endure but to prevail as well. Her childhood and adolescence bear witness to an occurrence with which most individuals are unfamiliar—the genocide directed against the Armenian population of Turkey. Dumehjian’s story presents to the reader an eyewitness account of the effects of hatred directed against people on the basis of their racial, ethnic, or religious affiliation. Like those books written about the policy of extermination directed against the Jewish population of Europe during the Holocaust, Kherdian’s book provides an enduring record to ensure that the world will not forget.