Wednesday, July 24, 2013

About the Book:
Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

My Comments:
This one has been on my Kindle way too long.  When I saw it reviewed on Peeking Between the Pages I decided it was moving up on the list.  It was a good move.

Its funny how it seems like a lot of books I read at about the same time all seem to have a common thread.  Lately the thread I've been seeing is possessions as holders of love and/or memories.  Everyone thinks Vivian should clean out her attic--get rid of all that junk she's never going to use again.  However, there are reasons she has kept all that stuff all these years and telling Molly about those reasons is the basis for this story.  The book alternates between Vivian's early life and the current day.  Just as it seems hard to believe women would travel across the country to marry men they never met, it seems strange in today's world that orphans would be put on a train and dropped off in small towns across America with very little screening of those who took them in, and little follow-up to see if a placement worked for a child.  On the other  hand, as Molly, and lots of other real Mollys in today's world can tell you, the modern foster care system isn't always any better. 

As Molly and Vivian work Molly learns how much they have in common and she is able to break down some of the  barriers she has erected to protect herself and is also able to reach out to help Vivian in a much deeper way than to just clean out an attic.  

While Orphan Train is a short book it packs a powerful punch.  Grade:  A.  


  1. Oh I love books about the Orphan Train! Thanks for the review! I will add this to my wish list.

  2. My grandfather was orphaned at age 7 and put on a train West. He got off in Phoenix and worked for a ranch. He thought he was 12 (don't all 7 year olds?)
    He only learned his real age when Social Security was initiated and my grandmother tracked down his extended family for a birth certificate.
    Thanks for the review and memory jog.

    1. Wow! Janette, thats an amazing story to have in your family!

  3. I am going to be looking for this one


View My Stats