Title: The Orphan Keeper
Author: Camron Wright
Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Source: Smith Publicity
I found myself very intrigued with The Orphan Keeper. The cover is so bright, it just pulls you in. However, that is only part of the reason I found myself drawn towards it.
Upon reading up on what The Orphan Keeper is about, I discovered that it is actually based on a true story!
The Orphan Keeper is about Chellamuthu. In the beginning, Chellamuthu is a young boy living in a village in India with his family. They are poor, they don't have much, but for the most part they are happy.
Then one day, Chellamuthu is kidnapped and finds himself in an orphanage far away from home. From the orphanage he gets adopted by a family that lives in America and he is then taken even farther away from everything he has ever known and desperately wants to get back to.
Unfortunately Chellamuthu cannot speak English, so he can't tell the family he all of a sudden finds himself with the truth of what has happened. So, over time, he finds himself with a new name (Taj) and having forgotten most of his young life in India.
The rest of the story is about Taj/Chellamuthu rediscovering himself and finding his place.
The story pretty much skips over the rest of his childhood and his teenage years. Which I think is probably okay. They show a small part of him as a teenager, and I kind of didn't like him very much at that time point.
Also, something that drove me kind of nuts (and it is one of the things that drew me towards this book) is that it is based on a true story. I kept finding myself wondering what exactly they changed in the story that made it so it couldn't be called a biography. Thanks to reading the note at the end of the book I know that there were names that were changed, some people were left out, and other things were assumed because they couldn't know for sure since someone was now deceased. But even with reading that information, I still found myself wondering if some of the events actually happened or if they were added to give the story a little more dramatic effect.
Something that I did like though was that The Orphan Keeper did show, some what, what India is like and some of the culture. I had no idea about things like the milk boiling, that they used banana leaves over plates a lot of the time, or that they didn't really ever eat with utensils until I read this book. I am no where near fully enlightened about this culture, but at least I learned a little bit more. I would have loved to have learned a lot more, but you can only really fit so much into one book that isn't really about the culture in the first place.
Also, in my copy at least, there are photographs. The photographs are of the real Taj that the story is based off of. I would only look at these at your own risk while you are reading the book because they will give away some of what happens. So if you don't want some spoilers, you may want to avoid looking at them until they are done. Actually, you may want to avoid reading most of the back of the book to avoid spoilers since it kind of details a good bit of what happens!
I enjoyed this story a lot and I felt myself attached to Taj and his story. I hate that things like this happen out in the world, but thanks to this book I am at least more aware of them.
This review is based on an ARC provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.