Pick of the Summer: Orphan Train

I just read a book, recommended to me by my mom, recommended to her by my grandma (this makes it an automatic winner)!

The book of note is Orphan Train, written by Christina Baker Kline, and it combines a historical storyline (a young Irish orphan, Niamh, is sent on a train to the Midwest to be adopted out in 1929) with a more contemporary one (a Penobscot Indian foster teen, Molly, is living in Maine in 2011 when she makes the acquaintance of now-grown Niamh).

It’s heartwarming, tragic at times, and ultimately so good. Orphan Train would make a great book club read, if you’re in the market.

Bonus: I also found this great quote from the author about her writing process: “I have come to realize that I rarely do one thing at a time. And that’s the problem. When you write, you can only write. You can’t do laundry or wash dishes. You can’t make sandwiches or talk on the phone. You can’t even listen to music (or I can’t – unless I’m in a coffee shop, where for some reason ambient noise doesn’t usually bother me). It’s just you and the lined paper – or blank screen – in front of you, and any distraction will not only affect your writing that day, it may change the course or the tenor of the work you’re trying to do. Writing is not about keeping the balls in the air. It’s about letting them drop. To unspool a story is to inhabit a different space altogether. You have to let the world in your head grow until it becomes more important than the world you inhabit. You have to calm your heartbeat, slow your skipping brain, become comfortable with silence. You have to accept that you will get nothing done except this one thing – this one paragraph or page or, perhaps, on a good day, a chapter – and possibly not even that.”


Photo of the children on the orphan train from The Children’s Aid Society.