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Publisher's Summary

The massive orphan train exodus whisked three-year-old Teresa from the safety of her New York orphanage, where the worst thing the Foundling nuns did was wash her curly black hair, to a desolate house and cold-hearted "parents" in Kansas. There, she entered a small and strange Volga German world whose inhabitants spoke a language she had never heard. In this odd world, she encountered whippings and sexual abuse.

Perhaps half a million children, like Teresa, were plucked from orphanages and shipped by rail (or "relocated") to nearly every state in the Union from 1854 to 1929. Mail-Order Kid looks at the orphan train movement through the eyes of one small child who yearns to know her "real" mother, survives a tortured childhood, and ultimately, as an adult, comes to terms with her past, her faith, and herself.

©2010 Marilyn June Coffey (P)2018 Marilyn June Coffey

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Orphan train deserves a better story

Would you try another book from Marilyn June Coffey and/or Marie Hoffman?

No I found the story and narrator boring.

Would you recommend Mail-Order Kid: An Orphan Train Rider's Story to your friends? Why or why not?

No Because better books for this important story are available.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Marie Hoffman?

Yes But I did not enjoy her performance.

Was Mail-Order Kid: An Orphan Train Rider's Story worth the listening time?

No but it could help my insomnia.

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

28 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mail order kid

This was a fascinating look into the life of one child that was placed into a home by the Orphan Train.She has many issues finding her place.It is sad yet happy in spots.“I was given this free review copy audiobook and have voluntarily left this review." Marie Hoffman was a fine narrator.

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Great book, too long of an intro

Once you get past the exceedingly long into (i almost turned it off and quit listening since i don't want the intro to tell me everything i am going to be listening to in the story, otherwise why should i listen to the story??????) anyway, once you get past that the story itself is very good and interesting. I had never heard of orphan train riders and i found this very interesting. How many ended up in homes like this one? i am sure there were more than even the "experts" know about. It's a sad day when kids were only placed in homes based on their religion instead of what was the best living situation. All in all it was a good way to help understand a part of history that most of us have never heard of before.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

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Heartbreaking and triumphant

I had never heard of mail-order children before coming across this book and my first thoughts were along the lines of child trafficking, but the blurb made me curious so I had to listen to it, I'm so glad I did.

The book is beautifully written and it makes the story of Teresa come alive, and it's a story that needs to be remembered, along with the stories of the other children who were moved across America separating them from everything they had known.

Teresa's story is heartbreaking because the home she went to was not a loving one and her early life is not one that you would want for any child and yet she was able to make a good life for herself, she became very successful and she was vocal in talking about what happened to her, making sure no one could ignore what had happened, she became an inspiration to many.

Heartbreaking, triumphant, and inspiring, this true story is not to be missed.

The narration is spot on, making Teresa's life come alive. The character voices are excellent and the delivery took me on an emotional journey.

I received a free copy of this book from the author and/or narrator and/or publisher and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.

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A Sad Chapter in American History

The Orphan Train movement is one of those sad chapters in American history that few people know about let alone understand. The impact of forcibly removing upwards of a half million orphaned children from the East Coast to the four corners of America should bear heavy on the American conscious. Yet, mention “orphan train” to nearly anyone and you’ll get a blank stare.

The best way to understand the movement is to look at it through the eyes and life of one of its “victims” and that is exactly what “Mail Order Kid” does. I am not one to do plot reviews and analysis of audiobooks. What I can tell you is if you have never heard of this movement you need to listen to this book. Much like slavery, the orphan train movement is another shining example of well-intention ideas in their times that we are now unequivocally ashamed of.

Better yourself and listen to “Mail Order Kid”.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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Too Much Detail

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this story to friends who love history, especially the history of immigrants or of the settling of the old west. It's also a good story for those who are interested in the history of fostering and adoption rights in the United States.

Unlike most orphan train stories, this story goes way past the train ride and the resettlement in a new home. This story tells the entire life story of one of the children who rode on the orphan train as a young girl and how being an orphan framed her idea of herself for the rest of her life.

The story was good, but it was bogged down with too much detail. We didn't need to know the details of every menial task that the orphan Teresa took on as a teenager or in her early adult years. We did not need to know the address of every home she lived in, or her exact reason for quitting every job. I wish there had been less of that.

On the other hand, Teresa's placement in her home with Volga German parents came to an abrupt end with no explanation. I would have liked to know more of how it came to an end and why. How did the Foundling realize that the placement was not a good setting for Teresa, and how did they get her out of it?

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The early part of the book was the best part, and the sections at the end that dealt with Teresa's discovery of her roots was fascinating. In between was a lot of tedium, and I would have been happy to skip over some of that.

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me at my request and I am leaving a voluntary review.