Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Orphan Train

Book: Orphan Train
Author: Christina Baker Kline

Nearly 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 worse.

Vivian 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 chance.

The closer Molly grows to Vivian, the more 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 both.-Goodreads

Review: This book is written in alternative narratives between foster-child Molly and the elderly Vivian. I never knew about orphan trains and really enjoyed Vivian's sections. My heart melted for those children and the (sometimes) tragic situations they landed in. Vivian's journey really came alive on the pages and I was immersed in her story. I feel terrible for even writing this but I just didn't care for Molly. She's a sympathetic character but she just irked me. She's had a tough life and she's currently living with foster parents who are only in it for the money. Her foster mother was written so cliche (right wing conservative who refuses to acknowledge Molly's vegetarianism among other things) I was constantly rolling my eyes. Molly is well behaved except for stealing literature from the library (really?!) and getting 50H of community service work. Okay-50H for a $10 book? That seems excessive but it was necessary to set up the relationship between the characters. The ending was a bit rushed but overall I enjoyed this book. 

Grade: 3/5

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