Diving Into the “Orphan Train”

It is hard to imagine the life of those that lived under impoverished conditions. It is also difficult to see the challenges that orphans face because they do not have a parent. Those that have the privilege to live life without those sufferings, it is difficult to interpret their lives and understand them completely. “Orphan Train,” by Christiana Baker Kline, provides a parallel journey of two orphans. Through the lives and challenges that these two individuals face, the reader gets to see life from a completely different angle.

The book’s title, “Orphan Train,” is based on actual history. According to Kline’s book, between the years of 1835 to 1929, trains would get city orphans from the eastern parts of the United States to the west. These trains would carry thousand of children within them, but their fate and their future depended on their luck. The story focuses on a young nine year old girl, Vivian, as she travels on the orphan train to discover her own fate in the west. In addition, the readers also are introduced to Molly, who is facing challenges in her adopted family. It seems impossible that these two would ever meet, but Kline is able to introduce an older character named Vivian into the story to tie the two characters together. Despite the fact that there are major differences between the two, Molly and Vivian become good friends through common struggles. The book creates transformative images into these two character as Molly and Vivian each help the other to obtain the other’s “missing puzzle.” These realizations help to bring both girls more appreciation about the life to come.

Ultimately, the “Orphan Train” is not only about orphans or trains. Instead, using these two as major themes, Kline provides a story about the most unexpected findings in the least expected places.

It is an element that catches most off guard at the first glance of this book. Through reading this book, I find myself appreciating more about the unexpected elements that happens in life. Maybe one of them will change my life in an unexpected way. From this standpoint, it is not difficult to see the reason behind the books continuing high rankings on New York Times Best Seller since its release. It is also not surprising that “Orphan Train” is able to cater to many different people groups. The book provides a good argument that sometimes, even those that are different in the surface, might be alike deep within.

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