ONEBOOK, ONELAKEVILLE  

We're pleased to announce the 2014 book selection: ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline

2014 One Book, One Lakeville Event
Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Lakeville Area Arts Center

Admission is FREE, pre-registration is required.

Click here to pre-register >

 

ORPHAN TRAIN



Our 2014 OneBook, OneLakeville title is the New York Times Bestselling novel Orphan Train, a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.  Between 1854 and 1929 orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by luck or chance.  As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. Spending her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Christina Baker Kline is a novelist, nonfiction writer and editor. She was born in Cambridge, England, and raised there as well as in the American South and Maine.  She is a graduate of Yale, Cambridge, and the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow in Fiction Writing. She also served as Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2007 to 2011.  Besides Fordham, Christina has taught fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, English literature, literary theory, and women’s studies at Yale, New York University, and Drew University.

In addition to Orphan Train, her novels include Bird in Hand, The Way Life Should Be, Desire Lines and Sweet Water.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR >

 

GROUP READING GUIDE


1. On the surface, Vivian’s and Molly’s lives couldn’t be more different. In what ways are their stories similar?
 

2. In the prologue Vivian mentions that her “true love” died when she was 23, but she doesn’t mention the other big secret in the book. Why not?
 

3. Why hasn’t Vivian ever shared her story with anyone? Why does she tell it now?
 

4. What role does Vivian’s grandmother play in her life? How does the reader’s perception of her shift as the story unfolds?
 

5. Why does Vivian seem unable to get rid of the boxes in her attic?
 

6. In Women of the Dawn, a nonfiction book about the lives of four Wabanaki Indians excerpted in the epigraph, Bunny McBride writes: “In portaging from one river to another, Wabanakis had to carry their canoes and all other possessions. Everyone knew the value of traveling light and understood that it required leaving some things behind. Nothing encumbered movement more than fear, which was often the most difficult burden to surrender.” How does the concept of portaging reverberate throughout this novel? What fears hamper Vivian’s progress? Molly’s?
 

7. Vivian’s name changes several times over the course of the novel: from Niamh Power to Dorothy Nielsen to Vivian Daly. How are these changes significant for her? How does each name represent a different phase of her life?
 

8. What significance, if any, does Molly Ayer’s name have?
 

9. How did Vivian’s first-person account of her youth and the present-day story from Molly’s third-person-limited perspective work together? Did you prefer one story to the other? Did the juxtaposition reveal things that might not have emerged in a traditional narrative?
 

10. In what ways, large and small, does Molly have an impact on Vivian’s life? How does Vivian have an impact on Molly’s?
 

11. What does Vivian mean when she says, “I believe in ghosts”?
 

12. When Vivian finally shares the truth about the birth of her daughter and her decision to put May up for adoption she tells Molly that she was “selfish” and “afraid.” Molly defends her and affirms Vivian’s choice. How did you perceive Vivian’s decision? Were you surprised she sent her child to be adopted after her own experiences with the Children’s Aid Society?
 

13. When the children are presented to audiences of potential caretakers, the Children’s Aid Society explains adoptive families are responsible for the child’s religious upbringing. What role does religion play in this novel? How do Molly and Vivian each view God?
 

14. When Vivian and Dutchy are reunited she remarks, “However hard I try, I will always feel alien and strange. And now I’ve stumbled on a fellow outsider, one who speaks my language without saying a word.” How is this also true for her friendship with Molly?
 

15. When Vivian goes to live with the Byrnes Fanny offers her food and advises, “You got to learn to take what people are willing to give.” In what ways is this good advice for Vivian and Molly? What are some instances when their independence helped them?
 

16. Molly is enthusiastic about Vivian’s reunion with her daughter, but makes no further efforts to see her own mother. Why is she unwilling or unable to effect a reunion in her own family? Do you think she will someday?
 

17. Vivian’s Claddagh cross is mentioned often throughout the story. What is its significance? How does its meaning change or deepen over the course of Vivian’s life?

BOOKS AVAILABLE AT:

DAKOTA COUNTY HERITAGE LIBRARY - LAKEVILLE
20085 Heritage Drive, Lakeville 952-891-0360

ADVANCED FAMILY EYE CARE {VISIT WEBSITE}
18576 Joplin Avenue, Lakeville 952-892-6454

AMAZON.COM {VISIT WEBSITE}
BARNES & NOBLE {VISIT WEBSITE}