Monday, May 11, 2015

"Orphan Train" - Christina Baker Kline

Hello fellow bibliophiles! I've had the pleasure of an afternoon off from work today. Perfect to indulge in and finish my current book. Finally I have finished all my current ARC copies and could hold an actual book in my hand! I picked up Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline a couple weeks ago while perusing the shelves at B&N and have been dying to jump into it since then. This book did not disappoint.

Kline tells the story of an "orphan train rider" during the 1920's starting with her journey coming to America, the hardships faced once her family made it to New York, and throughout the difficulties she faced as a young child being swept out to the Midwest, suffering and being passed from family to family. The story is split by the main character, Vivian, reliving her tale from memories to a young girl, Molly, an orphan herself, who is helping her clean out her attic for community service hours, going back in time from past to present. While the two characters are very different on the outside, they come to share the same kind of thoughts, feelings, and similarities in the hardships each has faced growing up. I have heard of the orphan trains and some stories about the children during the 1920's and 1930's who were brought from New York to the Midwest but I have never researched much or read other books on this topic in history. I found that aspect very intriguing. I cannot imagine what it would be like to first move across an ocean to an unfamilar world, then loose all of the family you have ever know, fend for yourselves on the streets, to be then picked up and shipped off to another foreign world with people you have never met before. Not only was this difficult for the children but families were not in great shape during this time period either. Great Depression, stock market crashing, and many unable to afford to care for their own children, let alone take in another.

Kline presents a well-written story. She clearly defines the back and forth between past and present and keeps the reader's interest with subtle comparing and contrasting of the two main characters. I enjoyed the book and learning more about this time period. A lot of what those children faced, are things foster kids continue to face today. Abuse and neglect are current issues that plague the foster care system still. Working as a Case Manager, you see it everyday and you never get used to it or understand it. Dfeinitely an eye-opening book. I highly recommend it. You won't be disappointed. As always, feel free to share you opinions, suggestions, and recommendations. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book!

Happy reading fools :)

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