Overall Opinion and Thoughts about Orphan Train

Discuss the July 2016 Book of the Month, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.

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Re: Overall Opinion and Thoughts about Orphan Train

Post by agarla00 »

This book was one that I absolutely could not put down. As I read through the lives of these two girls I was reminded how cruel life can be at times. My heart broke for the children that had been put on a train all alone to find new families. My heart broke with each tragic event but healed as the story ended. I still think about those kids who did actually go through that and I'm grateful for a book bringing a new truth into my life.
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Post by Carsh_Lohal »

I really enjoyed Orphan Train, I actually picked it up at my local bookstore after being drawn to the cover. Despite our education systems focus on north american history, the textbooks obviously leave out many of these darker subjects so I had never heard of the trains before this book. I actually did some online research about them afterwards just to further my understanding of it. The book is listed as historical fiction, but I felt it was pretty YA as well.

Vivian's story held the most interest for me. Having worked in long term elder care in the past it was a good reminder of the stories that become tucked away by our older generations. It was so detailed and easy to be drawn in to her experiences. I wasn't really interested in Molly's story and found her narration and comments about the foster system and her experiences to be fairly stereotypical. I still recommend this book to others and rate it 3/4.
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Post by Maryannwrites-15 »

CatInTheHat wrote:I was already familiar with the actual orphan trains. I was pleased with the accuracy of the historical facts in the story. Often, those get mucked up. Both of the main characters, Vivian and Molly, felt very real to me. There were so many tear jerking moments in the story. I couldn't put it down, which is always a good sign of a good book!
I read Orphan Train back in Nov 2014 and really enjoyed it. I was immediately caught up in this parallel story of girls in foster care, and like CatinTheHat, I liked the glimpse into historical facts. I had not been familiar with orphan trains, so this was an intriguing new bit of knowledge for me.

I also found the book hard to stop reading and enjoyed it so much, I posted a review on my blog and here is a link if anyone cares to read the full review. http://maryannwrites.com/itsnotallgravy ... musings-4/

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Post by Lauren M »

I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't get enough of it and was really sad when it ended.

I am a sucker for a great historical novel and this was just right for me.
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Post by Maryannwrites-15 »

Lauren M wrote:I absolutely loved this book. I couldn't get enough of it and was really sad when it ended.

I am a sucker for a great historical novel and this was just right for me.
Welcome Lauren. I loved the book, too.
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Post by Genaaa »

I think it's actually really good, but it's definitely something I probably wouldn't have come across and chosen on my own. None the less, it was a good read.
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Post by nina-mouawad »

Time constricts and flattens, you know. It’s not evenly weighted. Certain moments linger in the mind and others disappear
There’s no sugar coating it - this story broke my heart. I had no idea there were orphaned children that faced this fate; being thrown on a train from New York to the midwest in order to find a “family”. I say “family” because these people were looking for free labor as opposed to a child they were going to love.

The past is told from Niamh’s perspective, an Irish girl that emigrated to America with her family, only to lose them all in a fire and end up an orphan. In Niamh/Vivian’s case she was moved from one home to the next and suffered quite a bit. I could feel her loneliness seeping off of the pages.

The current time period is told from Molly’s perspective, a 17 year-old foster kid, struggling in her current situation. She’s been taken away from her mother, bounced from one home to the next, and landed with a couple that wants nothing more than the check. She put up a good front, standing strong and sticking to her beliefs, but boy there were times it was tough to watch. I absolutely HATED Dina. Why is it that the foster mothers were always so mean?

It’s community service that brings Molly and Vivian together, but it’s a school project that ultimately drags out the truth and cements their connection. First of all - Luke! He was my very favorite part of the story! He added the heart, something I felt was missing and desperately needed to connect more with the story. Vivian was basically a shell of person until he showed up.
I have to admit, the ending took a turn I didn’t expect. I still can’t wrap my mind around one of the decisions that Vivian made. After everything she went through - no way! Who would do that? I wish we were left with a little more closure. An epilogue even. It felt too abrupt.
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Post by ellieonline03 »

I certainly loved it. At the start, I could barely finish five pages in one reading session. However, as the story progressed, I got more and more engrossed. I actually pulled an all-nighter last night just so I could know what happened next in the story! I loved the plot twists and the characters (especially Vivian). The story itself was heartbreaking, but to see the characters find joy, in the end, was satisfying.
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Post by godreaujea »

I thought this story was all right. I didn't care for Molly as a character much. I thought she was full of stereotypical tropes for an angsty, misunderstood teenager. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Vivian's part in the story and her history.
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Post by Kslee64 »

I love this book! It is a perfect read-aloud book that reinforces NC 5 th grade Social Studies objectives. I would strongly suggest this book if you are a parent or elementary teacher in the public/ private/ or homeschool setting.I'm sure other states have American History somewhere in their elementary grades?but, it will vary from state to state. I encourage you to consult your local schools and they can point you in the right direction.
To begin with both the title and the book cover illustration
really grabs your attention. As you move through the book the children will grasp the idea that many people had challenging childhoods. Despite the challenging childhood, the main characters over came these obstacles and improve their situation. This book does show children that they can display the value of a good positive attitude, to do the best you can with what you have, and to not take for granted their families.
This book teaches about a very neglected part of American History. Many people know about America's westward expansion. However, very few know the hundreds of little stories that came as a result of the expansion. Obviously, this book shows perfectly one of those side stories. I would also encourage you to share books concerning the Cherokee's Trail of Tears, the California 49ers Goldrush, and the effects of creating train routes across our country. Again, I would highly recommend this book and hope to can added it to your Historical Fiction library!
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Post by tweety bird »

Beautifully rendered story, however, I gave it a 3 because I wished the the author had gone a bit deeper into the emotional/spiritual challenges of an orphan.
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Post by Insightsintobooks »

This book caught me immediately. I devouered it. I loved learning about a different time in history and annoyed the two story lines.
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Post by smart24 »

the best thing is to be good to everyone especially to the orphans
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Post by Insightsintobooks729 »

I enjoyed the flashbacks the most as I like learning about history. Overall, I think it was a good book.
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Post by BeatrixPotter »

Overall it was an excellent book, which portrayed a little known aspect of American history. I did know that life on the farm historically was less than idyllic, and that children were expected to work from a young age. I didn't realize how widespread the exploitation of vulnerable children by opportunistic persons was at that time. Molly's story brought up issues of Native Americans, and also issues with the system of placing foster children to show how some children of the present time also endure and survive in tough situations.
The story was engaging and kept my attention throughout. It was quite thought provoking.
Some parts of the characters seemed unrealistic. Niamh's thoughts seemed mature for her age. It seems a child would have been more bewildered. She was definitely a survivor.
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