By. Christina Baker Kline
Released; April 2nd, 2013
Over this quarantine, I have been reading a lot of books to remind that there is an outside world and things will get better; I have recently finished up the amazing novel Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline that makes it clear, things will get worse before they get better.
Molly is a 17-year-old orphan with a lifetime of pain, danger, and abandonment with her father dying when she was only a girl and her mom being a complete nut job drug addict. She has jumped foster home to foster home, now leaving her in the hands of child-hating Dina and her okay husband Ralph. After Molly makes a bad choice she is forced to do 50 hours of community service or 2 years in juvie; she chooses community service and is introduced to the one and only Vivian.
Vivian is a 91-year-old who has hired Molly to help her clean her attic but in the process gets off task and starts to tell Molly her whole life story beginning with the Orphan Train she traveled as a girl from New York to Minnesota in the 1920s.
The story follows both girl’s journey through the system and what it is like to be an orphan. Molly finds someone who loves her and appreciates her story while Vivian finds a reason to connect with her past.
This book was so unbelievably amazing! I really liked that the chapters would alternate from story to story; one moment we would be in Maine 2011 and the next we would be in Minnesota 1929.
After the book was over you felt like you knew the characters and didn’t want to let them or their stories go! All the characters had such big personality and voice that they were hard people to forget!
The way Kline describes things is like looking through a picture book. Vivian talks about when she was a girl and how she was Irish, red hair, freckles, porcelain skin; you could see her eyes and her fire-engine hair just through the words on the page.
I am not a huge fan of looking for meanings and symbols in books Ex: Why did the author describe the curtains as blue…because blue was his favorite color…duh. But in Kline’s novel there were obvious meanings that really created an impact.
The one that stuck out the most to me was things have to be bad so your future can be better. Both characters are discouraged about the journey that they had to take and instantly wondered why nobody ever wanted them, but as the story progresses and eventually ends things are okay. They are not good nor bad…but they are all okay.
Overall I would give this book a 10/10 no questions about it. The author’s combinations of the stories really blend nicely with creating these certain lessons that can be related to a 17-year-old girl whos life is just starting or a 91-year-old woman who has lived her life to the fullest.