Orphan Train

Orphan Train4 stars to Christina Baker Kline s Orphan Train It is a beautiful book everything from the story to the imagery Two parallel stories being told about what happens to a young girl when her family life is threatened The elder, a 90 something year old woman remembering her past The younger, a teenager doing community service for the 90 year old They bond They fight The stories nearly become one And perhaps one of them will get to answer the question who am I, really You feel so connected to the characters want to help them, feel awful for what happens to children And then at the same time, you recognize yourself in parts of their emotionsAbout MeFor those new to me or my reviews here s the scoop I read A LOT I write A LOT And now I blog A LOT First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at where you ll also find TV Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I ve visited all over the world And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who what when where and my pictures Leave a comment and let me know what you think Vote in the poll and ratings Thanks for stopping by Note All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them Many thanks to their original creators. I find the orphan trains to be an interesting horrifying time in our history I thought this book would give me a deeper understanding of what it was like to be a child enslaved by this plan concocted by the Children s Aid Society Instead, I found this to be a fluffy, shallow story chock full of huge stereotypes Let s see, we have the sexually perverted foster dad, the Goth girl, the upstanding drafted man, the 91 year old lady who hoarded her life in the attic Each character was painted with broad strokes that created no space for this reader to wonder or develop compassion The two narratives did not work for me at all Although it was very easy to keep the stories straight, neither story was compelling Both story lines were painfully predictable The events which allowed the plot to plod along were often ridiculous Molly modern day character had to do 50 hours of community service for stealing a battered copy of Jane Eyre from the library That s how she met Vivian who needed her attic cleaned out That s how the stories eventually merged All of the characters personal epiphanies seemed forced Vivian reflects that the people who matter in our lives stay with us, haunting us in the grocery store, as we turn a corner, chat with a friend They rise up through the pavement we absorb them through our soles Overwrought, in my opinion.Another author to cross off my list However, she has plenty of fans who will continue to absorb her words right through their soles. The Author Of Bird In Hand And The Way Life Should Be Delivers Her Most Ambitious And Powerful Novel To Date A Captivating Story Of Two Very Different Women Who Build An Unexpected Friendship A Year Old Woman With A Hidden Past As An Orphan Train Rider And The Teenage Girl Whose Own Troubled Adolescence Leads Her To Seek Answers To Questions No One Has Ever Thought To AskNearly Eighteen, Molly Ayer Knows She Has One Last Chance Just Months From Aging Out Of The Child Welfare System, And Close To Being Kicked Out Of Her Foster Home, A Community Service Position Helping An Elderly Woman Clean Out Her Home Is The Only Thing Keeping Her Out Of Juvie And WorseVivian Daly Has Lived A Quiet Life On The Coast Of Maine But In Her Attic, Hidden In Trunks, Are Vestiges Of A Turbulent Past As She Helps Vivian Sort Through Her Possessions And Memories, Molly Discovers 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 ChanceThe Closer Molly Grows To Vivian, The She Discovers Parallels To Her Own Life A Penobscot Indian, She, Too, Is An Outsider Being Raised By Strangers, And She, Too, Has Unanswered Questions About The Past As Her Emotional Barriers Begin To Crumble, 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 BothRich In Detail And Epic In Scope, Orphan Train Is A Powerful Novel Of Upheaval And Resilience, Of Second Chances, Of Unexpected Friendship, And Of The Secrets We Carry That Keep Us From Finding Out Who We Are Before I became a foster adoptive parent, I would have ranked this book much higher But it rankled that yet another novel characterizes a foster mom as racist, shrill, emotionally abusive, and selfish Oh, and the foster parents are just in it for the money And of course Molly is just misunderstood, with no serious behavioral problems or alienating qualities Except for a nose ring gasp , and a tendency to steal high brow literature oh my And of course, everyone ends up happy and joyful on the final page with the message that all the trauma and strife was a necessary part of the story, required to bring them to this place of understanding Yuck oversimplified and naive Edited to add many people in the comments have told me, in no uncertain terms, to get over it That the foster care system is horrible, that the book is from Molly s perspective, that I m extrapolating And maybe I am particularly sensitive about the foster mom However, I stand by my initial opinion that the characters are flat, over simplified tropes The foster mom is horrible The foster dad is weak The foster girl is just misunderstood The old rich lady is the perfect savior While I enjoyed the historical story about the orphan train which is why I didn t give it 1 star , the modern day counterpart seemed like it was slapped on at the last minute, using every available stereotype to awkward and absurd effect TL DR The modern day half of the story is poorly written. I was going to say this book reads like a YA novel, but then I realized that is an insult to some really well written YA novels The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, Flowers for Algernon Like many other readers, I thought the book had potential with a very interesting subject orphan trains , but the writing was amateurish, with incredibly stereotypical characters, a predictable plot and way too much sentimentality I doubted throughout the book that the author had any firsthand experience with orphans, Native Americans or the modern day foster care system If she does, it did not come through in her writing The plot lines wrapped up so neatly that I thought I was watching a Hallmark Channel movie for a minute On the plus side, I commend the author for choosing a subject that is not well known to many people I live in Minnesota, where many of the orphans in the book found homes after leaving the train, and I was not familiar with this history at all. The real truth behind this wonderful story is actually quite awful in magnitude Between 1854 and 1929, than 200,00 homeless, orphaned or abandoned children were sent to the Midwest ostensibly for adoption but often became indentured servitude, to people who wanted a worker rather than a child It is a little known fact of America s history and one I knew nothing about I love it when an author sends me hurrying to Google in order to learn about certain facts I ve learned from their books Christina Baker Kline has definitely achieved that here how could I possibly finish the novel and not need to know about these orphan trains Kline very courteously relays many other facts and her sources in the Acknowledgements including photographs the little bootblack of New York 1924 particularly brought tears to my eyes I finished the book at midnight and spent another two hours on the internet searching and reading information on the orphan trains My thoughts In child welfare, we should never rest on the laurels of our success stories, we should chastise ourselves for our failures Molly and Vivian have both been failed by the system A very unlikely friendship arises out of a need In 2011, 17yo Molly needs to do fifty hours community service and 91yo Vivian need someone to help organise her attic As they sort through the attic, Molly begins taping the story of Vivian s portage what she carried with her for a school assignment Different items signify certain people and events in Vivian s long and interesting life 1927 begins the 7yo Vivian s story her family has been helped obtain a passage from Ireland to America but New York is no pot of gold and the family struggles in 1929, there s a fire and Vivian loses the family she loves Taken to a Children s Aid Society orphanage, she soon finds herself boarded on an orphan train bound for Minnesota where prospective parents will choose a child they want After two less than advantageous placements, Vivian s luck changes and a happy life finally begins for her But, as Molly will learn, it is still not all plain sailing for Vivian Penobscot Indian Molly s story begins in 2011 a father deceased, mother a drug addict, she s been in foster homes than you can poke a stick at, countless schools where she never fits in and she s developed a tough Goth exterior in order to survive A theft sees her with the choice of either juvie or community service She meets Vivian through her boyfriend and this very unlikely friendship follows As Molly discovers, she and Vivian have in common than she would have ever thought and they can both provide something very special for each other People need to tell their stories it is often a matter of waiting for the right audience.The Children s Aid Society, to me, is a misnomer I wonder how many of these children actually had advantageous placements The Society may have had the best of intentions but the children may have lost than they gained in this venture Prospective parents checked their eyes, limbs, inside their mouths sounds like they are inspecting cattle rather than children Although Kline does acknowledge that in talking to and reading oral histories of these orphans they tended not to dwell on the considerable hardships..they focused on how grateful they were for their children etc lives that would have not been possible if they had not been on those trains That is comforting to hear.Kline alternately weaves two not dissimilar stories together very competently She is not overly emotive in language, rather leaving the story itself to draw the emotion from you And, dare I say, it would be only a very cold person who is not affected by this story Strangely, considering the subject, it is not a depressing novel over, it s about tenacity, it is about people hanging on to hope when hope is the only thing they have left, it is one of inspiring and lasting friendships Kline is brilliant in that she doesn t just tell a story sourced from historical fact she provides you with the fact in her eight pages of not in the least bit boring Acknowledgements complete with photographs I commend her for bringing history to our notice You know, the elderly have the most wonderful stories to tell, if only we would take the time to listen This is a novel I would not hesitate to recommend to all readers 4 The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a 2013 William Morrow Paperbacks publication I had heard such wonderful things about this book and have wanted to read it for a long time Finally, with the decision to push the pause button on so many review copies and float back into reading for pure pleasure, I found the time to work this one in the TBR pile This is just one of those really awesome stories that weaves historical details within a contemporary setting and enriches the lives of all who read it The orphan trains were indeed real, and Vivien s experience was certainly plausible I loved Vivien s voice, her courage, and the way touched Molly s life in a way no one ever had before, which drew Molly out, giving her a role model and inspiration all in one, giving her a new lease on life I only had one complaint about her story, which can t be explained here, but it was so improbable it affected my star rating While the story is bleak at times, and certainly captures the incredibly hard lives orphans were subjected to in the past, but it also made a nice parallel with how those who wind up in the system today are equally at risk and suffer some of the same prejudices and abuse, being tossed around from place to place, used for labor or for money I am so glad Molly met Vivien and enjoyed watching them forge a bond and enrich one another s lives Molly can be petulant and immature, unable to control her words or discipline herself, but also has the courage to stand up for herself and refuse to sacrifice her convictions However, I think Vivien s influence will be long reaching and Molly s maturation is evident by the story s end By the same token, Molly s influence on Vivien is also profound, as the elderly woman finds her whole world is open to new possibilities for the future, proving it is never too late to learn something new or try new things, and to never give up hope I am also grateful the author chose this topic and period in history, informing many of us about the trains, something many, including myself, were unfamiliar with, and how she took such a sad and heartbreaking situation and turned it into the ultimate feel good story 4 stars From what I can tell, this book is not classified primarily as a young adult novel It definitely should be The writing style is very simplistic and elementary, which is fine for a YA book I was just expecting something a little adult in terms of the writing style.That said, I think the subject of the book is very interesting I found Vivian Niamh s story fascinating, and I learned a lot about something in our country s history I knew nothing about The ending was a little too neat and contrived, but I can forgive that because the rest of Vivian s story was so rich and fascinating.I m not rating this book higher because of Molly Her perspecitve seemed completely gutted of any depth It s pretty clear that the author only intended Molly to be a vehicle for Vivian s story, which is disappointing to me because I think the juxtaposition of Molly s and Vivian s stories would have so much depth if Molly s character was developed The conflicts she goes through are too hastily resolved and her character development seems to happen out of nowhere There is a sense of an ending for Vivian s character, but really none for Molly s not even a hint of what might lie ahead Molly s foster parents were unbelievably one sided characters Also, the author s attempts to write in Molly s teenage voice frequently came across as awkward they are written pretty matter of factly and then all of a sudden there is random swearing or a makeout scene or her political differences with her stepmom I think these things would be easily reconciled if Molly s character were fleshed out.All in all, an enjoyable, fast, easy read Interesting historical fiction just fell flat in some places. When I was 16 my Great Aunt Pauline told me the saddest true story I asked her about her background, she was of Polish decent in a completely German town in Washington State She told me that when her family came over from Poland her mother had pink eye, and was sent back to Poland to try again She was pregnant and when she got back, she had a child that was not listed on the papers She put the baby in a suitcase to keep the officials at Ellis Island from finding her and separating her again That baby was Pauline They went out west, and her mother died several years later in child birth Pauline remembered being set out on the porch with her younger siblings, the babies in a laundry basket, and her father standing on the porch as people came by to pick out who they wanted She was older and chosen last and by a couple with a different language and moved to this area she ended up in She said, They picked us out as if we were puppies in a basket I am not a puppy in a basket I am crying just remembering the pain in her voice when she told me this She told me she didn t see any of her siblings until she was an adult, and that the couple trained her in how to be a good worker What a childhood for one of the sweetest women I ever knew I wish I had recorded her story, asked questions, there is never enough time This book told a similar tale, and I could not put it down It rang so true Read it In my nightmares I am alone on a train, heading into the wilderness Or in a maze of hay bales Or walking the streets of a big city, gazing at lights in every window, seeing the families inside, none of them mine After my book club chose Orphan Train for our next meet up, I picked up my copy and started reading just a little of the first page to get a feel for what the book would be like I didn t intend to finish it right now, or even read any than the first page, but I somehow ended up getting completely sucked into this story for the last few hours.Firstly, it is a page turner The pages just flew past as I devoured this story about two very different women who find they have a lot in common than they could have imagined It switches between the present day 2011 and the 1920s 30s, and it manages to be horrifying enough to hook you, but ultimately uplifting and charming.The best kind of historical fiction, in my opinion, is that which introduces you to little pieces of history you d never known about I knew that many Irish immigrants arrived in the United States in the 1920s, hoping for a fresh start and a better life, but often received a less than warm welcome What I didn t know, is that many orphaned children from crowded Eastern cities were boarded onto trains and taken to rural areas of the Midwest.Families looking for servants, farm labourers, or occasionally children would come check out the orphans and see if they wanted to take them home In this book, Vivian is an orphaned Irish immigrant at just nine years old, and she finds herself on one of the orphan trains The 1920s 30s part of this book tells the story of her life, being moved from one family to the next in Minnesota In the present, she is a 91 year old woman with an attic full of painful memories.So what could she possibly have in common with a bratty teenage goth girl Well, quite a bit actually.Molly is in the foster care system and knows her current family only keep her for the extra money they receive She rebels constantly with her image, with her attitude and, finally, by stealing a book from the local library and earning herself some community service That community service turns out to be helping an old lady clear out her attic.As Vivian s story is revealed, the relationship between the two of them grows I admit that I felt so much sympathy for Vivian, though I did understand the importance of Molly s story too Vivian deals with being constantly unwanted, being underfed, living in a farmhouse without any heating through the winter, and the leery eyes of her foster father I felt sorry for Molly at times, but she was bratty and not easy to like, though I still quite enjoyed the insight into her mind Like thisBut it kind of feels nice to nurture her resentment, to foster it It s something she can savor and control, this feeling of having been wronged by the world I do think that things felt a little rushed toward the end A lot seemed to happen in a short space of time, presumably because the main story had already been told and the author was just tying up loose ends But, overall, that didn t bother me much I really enjoyed this book both the emotional journey and the history lesson And I have to say, in a world that loves sword wielding heroines no older than 21 and pretty faced broody boys, it s refreshing to see such an interesting and fleshed out elderly character.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube Store

A 1 New York Times bestselling author of eight novels, including The Exiles, Orphan Train, and A Piece of the World, Christina Baker Kline is published in 40 countries Her novels have received the New England Prize for Fiction, the Maine Literary Award, and a Barnes Noble Discover Award, among other prizes, and have been chosen by hundreds of communities, universities and schools as One Book,

[Read] ➲ Orphan Train By Christina Baker Kline – Stockbag.info
  • Kindle Edition
  • 278 pages
  • Orphan Train
  • Christina Baker Kline
  • English
  • 06 February 2018

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