Orphan Train

Orphan Train

Book Club Kit - 2013
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Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to zaging 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 juvenile hall. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian arent 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.
Publisher: New York : William Morrow, [2013]
Edition: Book club edition
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780061950728
0061950726
Branch Call Number: F KLINE-C
Characteristics: 14 books (278, 16 pages ; 21 cm.) + 1 binder, in bin (27 x 42 x 28 cm.)

Opinion

From Library Staff

Molly Ayer is close to aging out of the foster care system. Vivian is an elderly woman who as a young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance. Can Molly help Vivian find an... Read More »


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m
mimimcl
Apr 05, 2018

Just delightful. One of those books that as you read you keep noticing how close you are getting to the end and regret there are not more pages. A wonderful format that switches back and forth between two periods in American history with characters that seem real and that you grow to love and understand, flaws and all. If you liked "A Gentleman in Moscow" you should like this book.

CRRL_MegRaymond Mar 06, 2018

Molly is close to “aging out” of foster care. She gets a job assisting an elderly woman with cleaning out her house, which brings up memories and mysteries.

d
darladoodles
Feb 26, 2018

A heartbreaking narrative with two threads -- one in the present and one in the distant past. Vivian Daly was an Irish orphan named Niamh who was sent west on an orphan train in 1929. Molly is in the Maine foster system and has been bounced from one home to another growing more cynical with each move. She is caught stealing a library book and her community service assignment is helping Vivian clean out her attic. While they go through Vivian's boxes, her story is told and they realize they have mouch in common.

There was much I loved about this book. The dual narratives fit well together and it was clear that the two characters brought out the best in each other. Of the two stories being told, I definitely preferred Vivian's. What I was disappointed in was Molly's story. It seemed like her foster mother was a hopeless caricature -- too many traits thrown together that did not all seem to fit. There were also some details thrown in like an intimate encounter with Jack that did not seem to move the story forward. I would have also like to see some closure on Molly's story that mirrored what we saw in Vivians's.

Definitely a good book group selection!

b
BeckyR21
Feb 25, 2018

Top notch. Christina Baker Kline is a master storyteller. Each storyline blended and complimented the other. Remarkable, endearing characters. An excellent conclusion. Some unpleasant characters that contributed to the plot development, even though they were despicable. Highly recommend as not only an entertaining read, but an enlightening
introduction to part of history that I was unaware of before this book.

Librarian_Deb Aug 28, 2017

Two stories intertwine in this novel that examines the lives of those who are orphaned or separated from their parents and put into "the system". For Molly that system is foster care, where she barely tolerates the people that she lives with. A minor theft (of a library book) lands Molly into legal trouble and she finds herself having to do a community service project. Enter Vivian, a senior citizen with an attic that needs to be cleaned out and a past full of things that she never talks about. Vivian's past includes her experiences as an orphan train rider - where after being orphaned in New York City she was sent on a train out west to be placed with a "wholesome" family. As Molly helps Vivian go through her things both women gradually open up to each other which allows the reader to experience several flashbacks where Vivian tells her story. These parts of the book were my favorites. Vivian encountered some shocking living conditions and people while growing up and I kept reading to see how one earth she was ever going to survive and thrive the many obstacles placed in her path. I definitely found her story more compelling than Molly's, but it was intriguing to have the contrast between how Vivian's situation was handled in the past and how Molly's was being handled in the modern day. That contrast became a focal point for discussion in my book group, so it does add a lot to the book. I definitely recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, particularly if they enjoy stories of young people navigating difficult waters to become successful adults.

e
Einer2
Aug 25, 2017

Another bit of history revealed in a very readable tale. If you've been to the lower east side of Manhattan and visited the Tenement Museum (something everyone should do) the bookwill take on even more meaning regarding the struggles of immigrants coming to our country still today.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Aug 24, 2017

A teenage girl recently kicked out of her orphanage home helps an elderly woman for community service, which helps keep her afoot. As they spend more time with each other both Vivian, the girl, and Molly, the old woman, realize that they have more in common than they thought. This historical drama shows a bonding between two very tragic characters, from the author Christina Baker Kline, an unlikely friendship is born. This book is amazing, but it was very cliche, the parents were typically abusive and Vivian doesn't particularly seem like a problem child, and the old lady is of course the exact same as the protagonist.
- @Florence of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

p
peacebenow
Aug 22, 2017

Heart warming book. Enjoyed seeing the relationships unfurl. Ended too soon. Almost want to read again.

t
Tannerking54
Feb 16, 2017

Easy fast read of this historical fiction book. Love the story of friendship and the study of how people grow and change.

ehbooklover Feb 14, 2017

This was a reread for an upcoming book club meeting. I loved it just as much this time around! My original review from 2015: An amazing story of adversity and resilience that is based on an actual historical event. I admit that I had no knowledge of the use of Orphan Trains and reading this book was a very eye-opening experience for me. I really loved the two main characters and the way their lives intersected to create a wonderfully unique and unexpected friendship and because of that I didn't want this book to end.

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Magicworld
Jul 24, 2015

Magicworld thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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spolleys
May 12, 2015

spolleys thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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maroon_moose_31
Jun 11, 2014

maroon_moose_31 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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suzee5454
Jun 22, 2013

suzee5454 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Magicworld
Jul 24, 2015

“I feel a joy so strong it’s almost painful—a knife’s edge of joy.”

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