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)
This is a good book although I have some minor criticisms of it: I was a little disappointed in the sudden ending--because it seemed to end too suddenly. I am a very old woman myself (87), and I sometimes had trouble with the voices. Finally, I don't understand why the baby was given away. That must have been a momentous decision, but the author presented it as fact and moved on. It was, however, a gripping story in places, and it has a happy ending. I liked that.
Unfortunately, almost everything. I like historical fiction and didn't know much about the orphan trains but didn't think this book taught me anything that I didn't know. The foster girl was not very believable and the relationship seemed contrived.
I think this book would appeal to 10-14 year olds.
This tale is absolutely beautifully written! The jumping between times is well done and shows just how similar Vivian and Molly truly are.
Orphan Train in its audio edition is every bit as riveting as the book.
During the 1920s and 30s orphaned and abandoned children living in northeastern urban areas were put on trains headed to the mid-west, where they were farmed-out or indentured by the New York Children's Aid Society. The individuals who took or adopted these children were not investigated for their financial or emotional competence to raise a child. Although they made certain promises to the society, no effort was made to follow-up on the children's welfare. These children were out-of-sight and thus out-of-mind. Many children found themselves in the worst circumstances, facing abuse, neglect, and incredible exploitation. The juxtaposition of Molly Ayer, a modern teenager trapped in the foster care system, with Vivian Daly, an elderly woman who rode the orphan train and suffered some of its worst abuses, keeps the reader turning the page long into the night.
Narrators Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren bring the two main characters to life. A particularly nice job is done differentiating between older Vivian and young Dorothy (Vivian). They also do an excellent job with the male voices. Sometimes the narrators read a little too fast but that aside, they did a wonderful job.
The loss Vivian experienced throughout her life staggers the imagination, and the way Vivian handles her loss runs the gambit. It would be giving too much away to reveal the moment I cried out, "Oh my God" but suffice it to say, there are more than one of those moments in the story. Fear not! Both Vivian and Molly are triumphant in the end.
Anyone interested in history and in current events--the recent surge of illegal and undocumented children over the Mexican border comes to mind--will appreciate this wonderfully written book. It reminds us that everyone has a story and some of our friends and neighbors have had life experience that would have reduced the rest of us to a quivering mass of gelatin. The story restores and reinforces belief in the indomitable human spirit.
simplistic and overly contrived... the narrator did a great job. And it certainly wasn't horrible... easy listen.
By far, one of the best story lines and performances I've ever read/heard. I never even knew orphan trains existed before I read this book. I cannot recommend this book enough. Incredible read!
I absolutely enjoyed this book. The characters were so vivid and alive. Quick read and good for a book club.
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