Orphan Train by Christina Baker Klein Summary Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Orphan Train

Plot Summary Part 2

Dorothy does, enjoying the rich aroma of the bathroom as she eats the apple. Fanny is her friend, while another seamstress named Mary is her enemy. Don't expect much more characterization than that because there isn't any.

Mrs. Byrne has Dorothy sleep on the floor of her hallway and only allows her to bathe once a week.

Back in the present, Molly's boyfriend Jack is feeling her small breasts. Doubtless he would prefer it if they were larger but Jack is satisfied with the matter at hand, for the moment. As he kisses her and squeezes her tiny breasts, he notices she has a tattoo of a turtle on her hip. She says it symbolizes how one takes one's home wherever one goes.

Back in 1929, Mrs. Byrne refuses to let Dorothy go to school because she wants her to sew full time. She's mean! She gives Dorothy bad food, soft peas and watery stews. When Mrs. Byrne finds out Dorothy has very few clothes, instead of buying some she buys some cheap cloth instead and orders Dorothy to make her own clothes!

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Dorothy loses weight because she is underfed and cannot pick the lock on the fridge. She sleeps in the cold on the floor at night. She is one abused orphan!

Meanwhile, the great depression hits and Mrs. Byrne fires all the workers, even Dorothy, who works for free. Mrs. Byrne complains Dorothy eats too much, heh heh.

Dorothy is placed in another home with a lady named Mrs. Grote. Mrs. Grote is sick and sleeps all the time. But she also operates a non-stop baby producing factory. The house is filled with kids and Mrs. Grote is always pregnant, thanks to a little help from Mr. Grote.  The Grotes are poor, they have no electricity or running water. Most of the time they eat dead squirrels. But at least Dorothy gets to go to school where she meets a sympathetic teacher named Mrs. Larson.

Mr. and Mrs. Grote don't get along. She's very dirty, but she likes having sex. Everyone catches lice in the house and the kids have their heads shaved and their scalps get bloody cuts from a razor blade.

Mrs. Grote lies in bed all the time with her v_gina hanging out; one time Dorothy saw "a dark triangle of fur" between her legs, heh heh. Mrs. Grote hates Dorothy and calls her a "dirty Irish bog-trotter".

One night, Mr. Grote tries to bone Dorothy. He opens his pants and shows Dorothy his hard p_nis. Then he sticks two fingers in her v_gina and Dorothy makes noises like a horse. Yes, that's what the book says, she whinnies like a horse.

Now I have trouble believing this part because (a) Dorothy is only ten years old at this point and how could two fingers possibly fit into a 10 year old v_gina and (b) if Mr. Grote had stuck his fingers in Dorothy's 10 year old v_gina he would have penetrated her hymen and she would have bled but clearly that didn't happen and (c) what kind of guy is attracted to a totally hairless 10 year old v_gina? None of it makes any sense.

Anyway, Mrs. Grote catches Mr. Grote sticking his fingers in Dorothy's v_gina and blames Dorothy (for having a v_gina? I'm not sure why.) Ms. Grote kicks Dorothy out of the house in the middle of the night and of course it is the dead of winter and there's a snowstorm and the only way this story could be any more miserable is if a mountain lion showed up to tear Dorothy's arm off.

Dorothy walks four miles to school in the cold, and when she is discovered, the representative from the orphanage is called.

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