Title- Orphan Train
Author- Christina Baker Kline
Genre- Historical fiction, literary fiction
Length- 320 pages
Synopsis (Amazon) – 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.
Review – I really enjoyed this book!
The main character is Vivian and her story is told both in the past, and in the present, where it intertwines with Molly’s story. For quite a bit of the book I thought there wasn’t much point to Molly, Vivian’s story could be told without her, albeit in a different way. Molly does however serve a purpose towards the end of the book! The inclusion of Molly makes this come across as a YA book, which apparently it isn’t meant to be. If it wasn’t for that I would have probably given it 5/5.
As for the actual story, Vivian’s is really interesting. Outside of her relationship with Vivian, Molly comes across as a bit of a brat, though her foster mother is far worse. A few of the reviews I read complain a lot about the foster mother, it is a bit odd to have her be the way she is and it seems unrealistic. She doesn’t seem interested in fostering at all so I struggle to see how she would have become certified in the first place. The foster father’s personality seems to change at one point in the book too, it’s all just a bit odd.
Although this is literary fiction in the sense that it isn’t a memoir written by an actual orphan, there was such a thing as the orphan train. I personally knew nothing about this until reading the book, so as well as being a good read it is educational too, at least a bit.
Overall this is a good book and I would recommend it to anyone that likes the genre.