Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

"I learned long ago that loss is not only probable, but inevitable.  I know what it means to lose everything, to let go of one life and find another.  An now I feel, with a strange, deep certainty, that it must be my lot in life to be taught that lesson over and over again."

This novel is the story of two women: Vivian Daly, a 91-year-old women living a quiet life in Maine and Molly, a troubled teenage girl in foster case.  The two meet when Molly begins a community service project helping Vivian clean out her attic.  As she helps Vivian sort through her past, the two realize that they have a lot more in common that they think.

I generally liked this book, but I guess I expected a bit more from it.  Too high of expectations?  I don't know.  It was interested to read about the orphan trains, a time in the history of the United States that I was not familiar with.  I was expecting to learn more about this and was surprised that it ended up being a very small part of the novel - the story focused more on the after affects of being a child of the system.  I felt that there was a lot more to the history of the orphan trains that they author showed.

I enjoyed Vivian's story a lot, but I felt the dialogue and story of Molly were a lacking something.  It felt more like a hallmark movie to me and, even though the two stories had many similarities, they didn't always fit together.   It reads very much like a young adult novel and I'm not sure why it isn't categorized as such.  I've seem to have read a lot of novels lately with duel narrators in the past and present - some of them work great, but this one just didn't live up to my expectations.

We read this as the March 2016 selection for the Germantown Community Library Adult Book Club.

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