Orphan Train

orphanOne of the quirky benefits of my new job is having a fantastic library just three doors down.  In addition to what you’d expect to find in a usual ‘school’ library, they have lots of the latest books, DVDs, and CDs.  I got Gone Girl on DVD a week after it was released.

The first time I walked in Orphan Train was right there on the display.  I had heard good things about it, so I picked it up.

There’s no doubt this book is a tear jerker.  Moving back and forth between two orphans in two different eras, the women seem to have hardship after hardship.  In the case of Dorothy, an immigrant from Ireland, her family are lost in a fire in their cramped tenement apartment in New York.  She is put on an ‘orphan train’ – a train that took orphan from crowded cities on the East Coast and took them to the Midwest in hopes families would take them in.  Dorothy moves through a series of horrible situation before being placed with a family where she seems to find her stride.

Meanwhile, the story of Molly, the modern day ‘orphan’ (her mother is alive, but in no shape to be a parent) she is struggling to hold together what she hopes is her final foster placement before she ages out of the system.  Caught stealing her favorite book, Jane Eyre, she does community service helping a local senior clean out her attic.

There were movements reading the book where it felt like all of the tragedy was just too much, it became far-fetched.  However, overall, I enjoyed this book.  It was a good read with interesting characters.

I was interested to note how many people approached me when they saw I was reading the book to comment on how they enjoyed the book or wanted to read it.  Orphan Train seems to bring out a strong emotional response in readers.

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