Author: Christina Baker Kline
Release date: April 2, 2013
Published by: William Morrow/HarperCollins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Molly Ayer has just months before she "ages out" of the system when she gets kicked out of her foster home. What is she going to do? Now she's become EXACTLY what her boyfriend's mom thinks she is. A loser. Vivian Daly has been living a quiet life in Maine until Molly walks into her life to work off her community service hours. As Molly and Vivian sift through the attic filled with Vivian's life they realize that maybe they are the only two people who can truly understand the loss and betrayals each has had to endure. Maybe, just maybe they can begin to heal each other...
My thoughts: We read this one a while ago for our book club, and it was good. I liked it. I knew about the orphan trains that had come to the Midwest because I've come across books here and there in the libraries when I've been working on the collections. What I didn't know was that it was a mostly unorganized, and "don't ask don't tell" type of operation once families took on a child. At least that's how the author portrays it here. The stories that she told were based on true stories, and I'm sure there was truth in the fiction she wrote. Of course, it was bad luck for the great depression to hit around that time as well but still a mostly unacceptable practice in the end leaving children mostly with people who you think do not check up on regularly. When you read about it, it's considered the beginning of the national foster care system which is an interesting way of looking at it I suppose. It makes sense I suppose, but boy did it need work!
To have the dual stories of Molly and Vivian in there different times and in their dual brokenness was a good idea. Having Vivian flash back with their attic "cleaning out" sessions was a fascinating thing. The thing that kept it all from being great instead of good for me was that it was so incredibly predictable from the very first few chapters. I knew exactly what was going to happen, and it did. I detest that. Oh well.
Non-fiction element: At the end there's a section all about the actual Orphan Trains, which is excellent for those who want to learn more or for those who don't know much at all about them. Here's a link to learn a bit more if you are interested:
Final thoughts: If you like historical fiction, or broken people then THIS is for you! Give it a try ASAP!