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Book Review: orphan train

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orphan train
Author: Christina Baker Kline
Copyright: 2013 ISBN: 978-0-06-195072-8
Publisher: William Morrow
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Can a seventeen year relate to a ninety one year old? What would they have in common?
What would they talk about especially one who dresses like a Goth to protest herself from her peer group?

Christina Baker Kline has taken a period in history called the “Orphan Train” and woven a tapestry of two generations into a moving story of resilience, loneliness and with the backbone to survive and thrive.

The Orphan Train ran from 1854 through 1929. Orphans from the East Coast were railroaded to the Midwest with stops along the way to procure homes for the kids from the street of New York. The reasoning or believes behind this idea was founded on simple Christian principles; a good family, good food, schooling and church on Sunday, but what really happen is the bases of this story.

Niamh Power sails from Ireland to New York with her mam, da, six year old twin brothers, Dominick and James and her baby sister Maisie. Her father’s parents paid their way to the land of opportunity. What they found was an apartment with few windows, no grass, and despair. Her father went to work for an uncle washing dishes in his bar, but with a drinking problem this was not ideal situation. A fire in the apartment building wipes out Niamh’s family and she is left in the hands of the Children’s Aid Society.

The threads of the story begin when a seventeen year foster child, Molly, has to perform fifty hours of community service. Her only friend, Jack, arranges for her to interview with Vivian Daly. She needs someone to clean out the attic. Molly is afraid, how do you relate to a ninety-one year old. Vivian tells Molly that the pink blouse she borrowed does not look good on her. Molly finds that Vivian is feisty, spirited person who is not afraid to speak her mind. Over the fifty hours of community service, Molly listens as Vivian relates the events that are stored in each box. She finds that Vivian’s life was not one of easy and privilege, but that she experienced hardships much like Molly is experiencing in the foster care system.

Molly comes to realize that everyone wants to be accepted and belong, but it takes courage as the tapestry of life unfolds.

Five Stars Rating

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