Tagged with midwest
Thank goodness this was a compelling read because I had only a few days to finish it before it was due back at NYPL. I came home from the Zine Librarians unConference to five books ready to be picked up, three of them two-week loans.
Now I have just over a week to finish the other two. Never mind, they were both renewable. Phew!
So yeah, Orphan Train shares parallel stories of two quasi-orphans making their way through harsh adoption/foster conditions about eighty years apart. The elder, an Irish immigrant at a time when the Irish were viewed with open hostility in the US, is taken to the Midwest via orphan train in the 1920s after a fire claims her family. In the name of Christian goodness, children were given away, often to be used as servants. Flash forward to the early 21st century and you get foster parents paid to "care" for a child they seem to hate.
May-lee Chai exposes the racist heartlessness of the heartland in her memoir of spending her teens in South Dakota (near the Pine Ridge reservation where someone perhaps other than Leonard Peltier shot two FBI agents a few years before the Chais moved there). She and her brother faced real danger from their fellow junior high and high school students, and several of the family’s dogs were killed on the Chai’s farm.