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 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.
©2013 Christina Baker Kline (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
“The narrator of Orphan Train, Jessica Almasy, does an incredible read. Listening to Almasy’s rendition of this book - so vivid and emotional - was as much fun as getting swept away by an Oscar-winning movie.” (Parents.com)
"Absorbing...a heartfelt page-turner about two women finding a sense of home.... Kline lets us live the characters’ experiences vividly through their skin.... The growth from instinct to conscious understanding to partnership between the two is the foundation for a moving tale." (Publishers Weekly)
“Kline's vibrant, sophisticated language comes alive with the sparkling talents of narrators Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren. Their finely paced, enthusiastic portrayals of the charming main characters quickly capture the listener.” (AudioFile)
I loved this book with its fascinating look into the odd history of the orphan trains. The quirky modern teen provides an interesting parallel to the story of the older orphan, but could have used a little more fleshing out to help understand her motivations.
My one quibble was the reader's choice to use a somewhat girlish voice to narrate the story. I understand that this was probably motivated by the fact that most of the story is from the point of view of a 9-12 year old, but I found it distracting, especially given the maturity level of the girl in question. I didn't care for the breathiness or high lilting tone, but would recommend the book, nonetheless.
I'm going from chapter to chapter in life. Some are definitely better than others!
The growing relationship between Vivian and Molly was one of the main themes of the book. Though the two characters have a difference of over 70 years in their ages, they discover a "sameness" about several parts of their lives.
I'm not certain that the title Orphan Train is the best title for Christina Kline's book. Yes Vivian's time before, on and after the historical Orphan Train was a large part of the story, but so was Molly's growth and maturing through spending time with 91 year old Vivian. As both characters got to know each other better a friendship blossomed, along with a mutual respect for each other.
Orphan Train, while not one of my top 10 listens, was certainly worth hearing. This book as well as The Chaperone, have brought to light an interesting part of America's past - the orphan trains. The Orphan Train also sheds light on the problems that can occur when older teens age out of the foster care program. The story also reveals that friends can be found in unlikely circumstances and at any age.
Amazing to see what some people endured and how they overcame. Great story, while learning history at the same time!
A child tossed through the system like yesterday's trash is given one last chance. She must help Vivian an old lady clean out her attic as community service or face jail time.
On the surface they are as different as night and day. But as they sort through the attic's treasures, Vivian tells her story. She has had her share of hard knocks and disillusionments.
The orphan train offered a chance to have a fresh start and the Children's Aid Society believes it was the answer to the children's woes. But the reality was much different.
With each new home she gave up a piece of herself. She is placed in one home after another with disastrous consequences. Finally she is placed in a decent home. She can't relax and believes every infraction will get her sent away.
Her troubles don't end there. She marries but her husband dies in the war. She is pregnant with his child.
The rest of her story is glossed over. The ending is sweet but hard to believe...they lived happily ever after.
Still it is a good book to glean the history of the orphan trains. It does not sugarcoat the reality.
i have been reading kate mortons books. this was similar in that there are multiple shifts back into time and then into the current time. there are a few twists.
initially i didn't care for the narrator's voice, but within a few chapters found i enjoyed her performance.
This title is not reflective of the major settings reflected in this plot. Parents, this story is NOT for teens unfortunately because of some of the subject matter concerning perverted behavior. Don't be fooled by the high star ratings which do NOT reflect every reader viewpoint.
The reader is encouraged Vivian's positive role model of perseverance in continuous extreme hardship situations finding herself a foreign-born orphan during the depression who does not forget her wise Irish grandmother advice. BUT, I am very disturbed by the persistent focus of many modern authors to always include their own personal political agendas (inappropriately inserted within the specific historical age backdrop) in new fictional novels. The reader of today's fiction books must always be alert to discover possible "modern" evil philosophies that the author skillfully gradually weaves into the plot for the specific purpose of brainwashing the modern age and hardening our hearts' natural sensitivities to SIN motivated by our God-given consciences.
In addition, I find disgusting the false portrayal of the "Christian" societies' insensitivities and blindness to their uncompassionate practices of inaccurately assigning/accepting cruel/selfish parents for the helpless orphans on the train. There is absolutely no sensible mention of Why Vivian wears an Irish Christian cross on her neck and the meaning of the cross as HOPE in a dark world--"Nothing is impossible with God."
In addition, there is NO true Christian character in this book so far -- as though there was NO Christian loving church either in Ireland and the US (NY and Minneapolis) during this historical period. Again, the author falsely projects the message that ALL Christians are hypocritical liars both to the children and themselves. The totally unreligious adoptive parents repeatedly fail to appropriately celebrate any Christian holidays of Christmas/or and Thanksgiving. Bible-believing Christians will find this DARK, anti-Christian perspective unappealing, even disgusting. Somehow the Audible-provided "sample" or book description should have given away this author's extreme bias which is offensive to the Christian believer, unless unwarned/unarmed he finds himself another 'frog" slowly boiled to death in our post-modern culture.
Include Positive Christian characters and providential situations!!
The Irish accents were entertaining.
NO, we don't need another fictional novel masquerading as a positive character-building role model while really reflecting a blatant liberal account of the current US minority's true post-modern cultural agenda.
I do not appreciate author's insensitivities to Christian readers and propelling anti-Christian agenda!
No profanity. This could have been a good novel for teen summer reading.
Disappointment. I don't know why so many good books have to include profanity. Yet, if a student uses it at school, they're reprimanded. Not good.
I am a fan of mysteries and process police stories. This is completely different. Following the hard, frightening life of an orphan girl takes you on a trip though a life that I cannot imagine living. It also fascinates me that one person has the strength and determination to not only get through it but to touch so many lives on her journey to the life that is finally hers.
I loved reading this book. The story of two orphans developing an unexpected friendship was surprisingly a good read. I did not expect to enjoy this book as much I have because of the name of the book, and the fact that these trains actually existed. What I thought would be a story of all of the terrible things that orphans suffer, turned out to be a beautiful story of these two orphans re-discovering life while coming to terms with their past.
The 91-year-old Vivian and the 17-year-old Molly are kindred spirits - neither expecting anything in new in life nor anticipating coming to terms with their pasts. The author’s writing moved easily between the past and the present. This story captivated me. There was a balance of tragedy and good events in this book. I gave this book five stars because I did not once feel need to turn pages out of boredom with any of the stories within the story.
I enjoy mysteries, science fiction, Stephen King, and some fantasy novels. Now and again I like a biography and a bit of history. No romance!
Heartbreaking, triumphant, truthful
I really don't like answering this question in reviews. I think it gives too much away. I will just say that any time the story goes into the history of Vivian, one of the two lead characters in the book, every word is memorable. Her life is populated with memorable characters and events beyond the scope of what normal lives in today's world are like.
My favorite character performance-wise, is Molly. They get her voice just right and everything about her rings true.
Yes, it was. I could have dropped everything and listened to it all, but unfortunately, like most people, I just didn't have the time for that.
This is a wonderful book and it was far more entertaining than I was expecting it to be. The two main characters are wonderful. They are both interesting woman who have lived complex lives. Both are also very brave but yet without seeming to be unrealistic or unbelievable. The story is, at times, heart-breaking, but in other moments, it is filled with wonder. It held my interest from the start and when it was over, I was left wanting more. I could listen to the story of these two women for several books more. The author picks the correct point at which to close the story but that doesn't mean that the listener is ready for it to end. I highly recommend this book.
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