Orphan Train is narrated by Jessica Almasy and Suzanne Toren. The audiobook is about 8.5 hours of listening in unabridged format. Released in April 2013 by Audible Studios.

This is a captivating story encompassing the lives of two orphans. One, a woman in her nineties, the other a rebellious teenaged girl. A good deal of the story involves flashbacks. The older woman reminisces through boxes of memorabilia in her attic, things the younger woman is helping to clean out. The memories include her journey as an orphan … beginning on a train in New York to the midwest, through her youth and marriage.

What I liked. Orphan Train is very educational for anyone unfamiliar with the orphan trains of the 1930s. Illness or tragedy resulted in many immigrant orphans, those children whose parents did not survive the rigors of an Atlantic crossing or New York poverty. The kids, including infants, were transported via train to whistle stops throughout the midwest in hopes of eventual adoption. The abuse and servitude of these kids is appalling.

What I didn’t like. Whatever you do, listen to the audio sample. You’ll hear a cartoon chipmunk. The voice just doesn’t work for me and the saving factor is the story itself. The diction and presentation are fine … but the narration is juvenile and suited to children’s audio … not a good voice for Orphan Train.

No explicit sex, no offensive language. A decent listen with the codicil above.


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