Friday, October 14, 2016

The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright

India is a land of overpopulation, poor people, and everyone in power is expecting a handout.  Some of their customs are primitive.  But families love each other, no matter what.  This is a fictional account of a true story where love crosses the miles and brings a family back together many years later.

Shadow Mountain and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so you can find a copy now.

Chellamuthu was seven and he was standing on the street waiting for his father to return.  A boy he knows and admires a bit comes to visit and taunts him with a mango.  Then he kicks the mango away and tells him if he wants some, there's more in the van.  He's hungry, so he goes.  Unfortunately, he's being kidnapped and sold.  There's an orphanage in town that will buy "orphans" to be adopted overseas.  When Chellamuthu tries to explain he has a family and they will be looking for him, he's hushed up.  He tries to escape but comes back because he can't find any food or his way home.  Eventually, he's sent to America.  His future adoptive parents had to buy him from the orphanage...

He has the fortune to get a good family but he also has the disadvantage of not being able to speak English.  He tries to explain that he has a family but no one understands him.  He's the only dark person in school.  The children teach him rude names for his teachers.  And they make fun of his name.

His mother moves him to a new school and lets him pick a shorter name that won't be subject to ridicule.  He picks Taj.  Life goes on and he begins to adjust to American life, his new family and school but he still feels caught between two worlds.

When he finds a girl and they find themselves falling in love, there's more conflict.  She's supposed to have an arranged marriage.  She wants to marry for love.  Finally, the father agrees.

There's one more twist that really is ironic:  Her father was one of the men that Taj talked to at the orphanage asking for help...

This is fascinating look at an unusual life.  One thing about it:  Taj never gave up.

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