HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
SantaThing signup ends Monday at 12pm Eastern US. Check it out!
dismiss
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

Orphan Train (2013)

by Christina Baker Kline

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,0954351,632 (3.98)1 / 253
Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to 'aging out' 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 juvie and worse. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren't 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.… (more)
  1. 30
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Isolated old ladies benefit by telling their stories to younger women.
  2. 41
    Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Another good read showcasing a small bit of American history
  3. 10
    The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: Similar story of a young woman aging out of the foster care system.
  4. 11
    My Notorious Life by Kate Manning (Anonymous user)
  5. 12
    Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult (JenniferMCampbell)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 253 mentions

English (427)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (435)
Showing 1-5 of 427 (next | show all)
What a fast read! That's not at all a comment on the quality, by the way--I just zipped through this one, for whatever reason.

I first saw this book on GoodReads, then found a bargain copy at a library sale. A god book that is definitely worth the read, though not earth-shattering. It'd be a good one to teach in high school, I think.

I couldn't put my finger on what it was about this book that kept me feeling just a little separated, but a colleague happened to hit the nail on the head while describing another book: It's very clearly the product of a creative writing professor. It's just a little too neat, too caught up in the deliberate style to really let loose and sink in. We need books like this--they show us all the wonderful things that writing and storytelling can be--but I didn't connect deeply.

That said, I definitely connected more to the modern main character than I did to the modern women in [b:The Joy Luck Club|7763|The Joy Luck Club|Amy Tan|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1304978653s/7763.jpg|1955658]. Molly felt more real, more down-to-earth--the fact that she wasn't the beautiful, misunderstood Bella Swan type helped a lot. She bickered with her boyfriend, but they made up. They talked about the ways they couldn't meet each other as equals and how that made them feel. You can see how she became the person she is, not magically a saint and not willfully antagonistic.

Normally my primary interest would be with Niamh ("Neev"), as today's problems rarely seem as dire as the problems of the past. But in this book, it was actually the points where past met present that held me most. Maybe it was just my nostalgia for my own oral history class. If I thought I could make a living off it, I would loved to be a field anthropologist, interviewing new and interesting people from all walks of life. But it could also be because I've often connected well with people considerably older than I am--so I felt a kind of kinship with Molly, even if the connections I make tend to be much slower to form.

Yeah, there were some places that strained the suspension of disbelief. Molly seems to think she'll go to juvie for stealing a library book. Really? Even in our messed-up racist society, that seems a bit extreme for someone with no previous record. Molly's foster mother is conveniently antagonistic for no apparent reason--everyone has to have motivation of some sort. And a 91-year-old woman learns how to use a computer in a matter of weeks despite the fact that the most advanced technology in her house is a cordless phone--not impossible, but incredibly unlikely.

For some reason, I'm more forgiving of the coincidences in the "past" part of the narrative. Is it because that feels more like full-on story to me? I do think I tend to be more critical of books set in the present or near-present.

And that's it, folks, because I'm quite tired this evening. I miss doing my quotes, but they really did take up a LOT of time.

Bookmark: Hufflepuff ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
This book reads like a YA novel. It is funny that I read it right after I finished the Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and these two books couldn't be more different. Where the Russian tome is extremely long, thin on events and heavy on character dialogue, conversation and study, this one is short, and the "event" features as the main driver of the story while the characters are just serving as its results.

The history about the Orphan Train is interesting but I found the characters a bit on the exaggerated side. There are twin strands to the story. A modern-day young girl, who had a difficult childhood as a foster child and is close to ageing out of the foster care system. She faces some time of community work with an elderly lady, and an unlikely friendship develops when they discover the common threads that binds them. Vivian was also an orphan who arrived from the East Coast on the Orphan Train.

Some of the secondary characters were stereotypical, like the foster mother in the modern story. The last scenes in the book were something from a soap-opera. The writing is good but not spectacular. In all the story relies heavily on the drama of the orphan's life. The earlier years in Vivian's life (born Niamh in Galway Ireland) were most authentic and telling, and they alone carry the book.

One idea that I found interesting, is how people living in the worst of squalor found easy to look down and make racist comment on the poor little Irish girl. It is something that is difficult to understand logically, yet it always occurs in societies where the weak pries on the weaker and the weaker takes advantage of the weakest. ( )
  moukayedr | Sep 5, 2021 |
Good. Like Water for Elephants. ( )
  avdesertgirl | Aug 22, 2021 |
maybe I shouldn't have started reading so late at night... that's a dangerous game to play with a good book. I couldn't put it down! ( )
  SamBortle | Jul 23, 2021 |
Kudos to Ms. Kline. For the most part, this book moves seamlessly between the formative years of two orphans: poor Molly Ayer (Maine, 2011) and wealthy Vivian Daly (Minnesota, late 1920s-1930s.) Molly has 50 hours of community services for the theft of a library book, and assists Vivian in organizing her attic, as she goes through the boxes of her life. Naturally, the two bond in a strong way as they discuss their struggles to adapt to changing families, etc. 4.5 stars. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 427 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christina Baker Klineprimary authorall editionscalculated
Almasy, JessicaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fröhlich, AnneÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guerrero, JavierTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jansen, JanineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kerner, Jamie LynnInterior Designsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Metaal, CarolienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sævold, Ann-MagrittOvers.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thieme, Britt-Mariesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
In portaging from one river to another, Wabanakis had to carry their canoes and all other possessions. Everyone knew the value of traveling light and understood that it required leaving some things behind. Nothing encumbered movement more than fear, which was often the most difficult burden to surrender.
-Bunny McBride, Women of the Dawn
Dedication
To
Christina Looper Baker,
who handed me the thread,
and Carole Robertson Kline,
who gave me the cloth.
First words
Prologue
I believe in ghosts.
Through her bedroom wall Molly can hear her foster parents talking about her in the living room, just beyond her door.
Quotations
"...you can't find peace until you find all the pieces."
– 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. And 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.
Her hand flutters to her clavicle, to the silver chain around her neck, the Claddagh charm – those tiny hands clasping a crowned heart: love, loyalty, friendship – a never-ending path that leads away from home and circles back.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to 'aging out' 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 juvie and worse. As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren't 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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of second chances, and unexpected friendship.

Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren't as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.98)
0.5
1 13
1.5
2 47
2.5 13
3 267
3.5 133
4 724
4.5 95
5 404

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 164,337,674 books! | Top bar: Always visible