Orphan Train is a well written tale and compelling read about loss, adaptability, courage, friendship, hope, and finding family. The story is told from the perspective of Molly and Vivian, two brave, difficult, true-hearted women, each in their own way orphans, one living in contemporary times and the other back during the years of the depression.
Troubled 17-year-old Penobscot Indian girl, Molly Ayer, moves from foster home to foster home after her father died in a car accident and her mom disappeared into her own haven of drugs and damnation.
Molly is found guilty of a misdemeanor and has to do community service, which brings her in contact with 91-year-old Vivian Daly, who had more with Molly in common than she could ever imagine.
They disrupt one another’s lives in beautiful ways, and loved journeying with them, through heartbreak and stretches of history, out of loneliness toward family and home. It is impossible not to be emotionally drawn to both of these characters. The narrative is realistic and told by both characters.
The real truth behind this wonderful story is actually quite awful in magnitude. Between 1854 and 1929, more than 200,00 homeless, orphaned or abandoned children were sent to the Midwest: ostensibly for adoption but often more became indentured servitude, to people who wanted a worker rather than a child. It is a little known fact of America’s history that was previously unknown to me
The author includes at the end of the book pictures of some of the children. Will never understand how someone could have looked at these tender little children and not want to just hug them and take them home. Absolutely stirring.