Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, 294 pages

"Orphan Train" is a book club selection for two of the library's book clubs this year.  It tells the story of two women, Vivian, who is 91 and was an Orphan Train rider in 1929 and Molly, who is a 17 year old foster kid in 2011.  Their stories intersect when Molly is sent to Vivian's house to help clean out the attic in order to work off 50 hours of court mandated public service.

The books goes back and forth between 2011 and the past in order to tell Vivian and Molly's stories.  Vivian and her family immigrated to the United States from Ireland and ended up a New York City tenement house, where most of her family perished in a fire.  That's how she ended up on an Orphan Train, headed to Minnesota in 1929, at the age of nine,

Molly's father died when she was young and her mother fell apart.  Molly ended up in the foster system.  Neither Vivian nor Molly had and easy life with their foster families.

For some reason, I expected the book to be somewhat trite and sweet.  It wasn't.  It was gritty and sad and heartwarming and hopeful.  On the surface Vivian and Molly have nothing in common, but underneath, where it counts, their experiences bring them together.

No comments:

Post a Comment