Friday, January 30, 2015

People, STOP HARASSING ME TO READ YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS! - unless it's the Orphan Train

I'm constantly getting books recommended to me.  Sometimes, the recommender gives me a pretty good push.  Such was the case with Gone Girl, This Is Where I Leave You, Me Before You, and The Language of Flowers.  And I have to say that these were all very good books.  Add Orphan Train to that distinguished group.

Leslie has been "suggesting" for months that I read Orphan Train.  But I think what finally got me started on it was a combination of 2 things - 1, I was caught up on my book club(s) reading and, 2, Janet added her push to Leslie's push.  So I read it.  And boy did I get caught up in it.  What a story and what a book.  It's actually my 1st 4/4 in over a year. Why is that?  I'll give you some reasons:

1.  The book was perfectly written.  Every descriptive paragraph (you know I'm not a big fan of too much description) was exactly the right length.
2.  I got caught up in the relationship between Molly and Vivian pretty early.  How about page 14?
3.  There were lots of emotional moments - between Vivian and Molly; between Molly and Mr. Reed, her history teacher; between Molly and Jack; between Vivian and Dutchy; and so on.  Kline does an amazing job of developing relationships.
4.  There were a couple of references that reminded me of my own family.  In one situation, Vivian, as a child, gets a snickerdoodle.  Joni had Haley every Friday for 4 years and would always go into Icing on the Cake and get her a snickerdoodle.  And Vivian talks about the Children's Aid Society and how it places orphans into homes.  Vivian says that, God willing, they would all move into good homes.  After Josh saw Braveheart, he couldn't stop quoting William Wallace:  "And God willing, a family," in his Scottish brogue.  He drove us all crazy (tough to imagine, I know!).
5.  The story goes back and forth between Vivian in her youth and Vivian in the present-day, when Molly is listening to Vivian's story.  My very favorite Jodi Picoult book is The Storyteller.  These 2 books are similar in that old women are telling their story. I liked it in The Storyteller, and I sure as heck liked it in Orphan Train.

I don't think I have to tell you what this book is about.  Most everybody by now knows the details.  What you do need to know, though, is that between 1854 and 1929, 200,000 orphans were sent by train from NYC to the Midwest.  And when Kline was doing her research, she found about 100 of those 200,000 still alive.  You can imagine how cool those interviews were.


  1. I recently hear about the orphan trains for the first time, but I haven't heard of this book. Sounds like a must read. Thanks for sharing it with us. I am off to add it to my list. :)

    1. Move the book up near the top of your TBR pile. You won't be sorry. And I have to admit I had never heard of the orphan trains until somebody told me about this book.

  2. Glad you liked it too!

    I also loved The Storyteller:

    Sounds like we have similar tastes in books. :) I won't PUSH recommendations on you, but if you ever have a chance to read A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman, I think you'll enjoy it. No pressure at all though! :)

    1. Interesting you should mention that one. I have seen it in lights at a bunch of my fellow bloggers' blogs. I've got it on my TBP (to be purchased) list. Thanks for the rec.

    2. AND we do seem to have similar tastes. Although I have to tell you that my tastes can be quite eclectic - mysteries/thrillers, young adult, young adult fantasy, romance, memoirs, literary fiction, and more.
      P.S. If you live in the South Bay Area, I think you would enjoy our book club. It's like other book clubs, except the author comes to the bookstore and answers our questions and signs books. You can go on my blog home page and click on Recycle Book Club Schedule.

  3. I love it when I get a good book recommended to me. Thanks for this one.

  4. I so agree with you. And speaking of...I'm waiting to hear when I can buy a copy of your latest.

  5. I've been wanting to read this for at least a year and a half but haven't gotten to it yet. I read another book by Kline and really liked her writing style so I feel sure I'll like this one too.

  6. I think this is a tough one not to like.

  7. This is an excellent read! Our book club read it last fall and then seen the author speak which was amazing!

    1. You may have seen that our RBC has the author come and answer questions and sign books. And we've had some nationally known authors from the Bay Area come. But seeing Christina Baker Kline would be incredibly cool. I'm very jealous!

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