I have decided to write reviews for book as I am reading them rather than wait for the end. Its seems more than too often, the ending seems to taint the color of the entire book and if a book should not to be judged by its cover than I think the same applies to the ending; and frankly sometimes if the book is well written and keeps you fully engaged while keeping company at the Doctors’ waiting room, it’s worth reading despite a less than perfect ending.
Orphan Train is a story of two people with the same life story separated by almost a century. The name of the book gives away the initial story line of the book yet you can’t help feel for the girls. Orphan train used to run back in late 1800 and early 1900 from East coast to bring abandoned and Orphan children to the mid-west in the hopes of finding them roof over their heads and some normalcy to their lives. The story jumps back and forth between present (when the book was written, 2011) to 8 decades ago and is beautifully interlaced, I am still unsure about how I feel about a third person narrating the story but it doesn't feel misplaced. The scripts where the story line starts from the two extreme edges and meets somewhere in the middle are my favorite; I really liked ‘The Ghost’ by Danielle Steel, just for this reason.
The ending of the Orphan Train is interwoven with the beginning so there no shock at least that’s what I think now; the old woman (Vivian) is rich and alive and so her life must have turned a better corner after the heart wrenching beginnings and yet I feel a pang every time she is made to feel unwanted. The younger girl (Molly) in the present day is portrayed a typical teenager who has had a rough start and has coiled inside a persona that is tough and intimidating despite the depth of her minds.
So far, I am enjoying the Minnesota reference and the story has gripped me since the life story of the characters’ is so drastically and dramatically different to the life that I have ever seen.
Finished reading the book and I am glad that I am not writing the whole review at the end; because I have a feeling that I’d have judged the story by its ending. The book started with such gusto and myriad of possibilities but towards the end it just fizzled out. I guess, I was hoping for a better character development of the younger girl (Molly) to define the connection and the bond between the two. I don’t share the same life story as Vivian but I was so intrigued by her life that I’d have done everything in my powers to find her a closure, had I been in that circumstance. So, what was special about Molly and Vivian except for similar origins? I wished the book had gone on a little longer, I was really enjoying it…
Overall, still worth a read to get a glance into the life of an orphan and that of rural Minnesota; and also Minneapolis in the early 1930. I now want to see the streets and hotel the author mentioned with a new perspective.
If you are interested in the Orphans that were dispersed throughout Midwest via the train and if you are local to Minnesota, plan to catch this presentation at the Union Depot about the 'Riders on the Orphan Train' , the same railway station where the train used arrive in the last century.