The Orphan Keeper
Adapted for Young Readers from the Best-Selling Novel
by Camron Wright
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Pub Date 04 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 18 Oct 2022
Shadow Mountain Publishing, Shadow Mountain
Chellamuthu is suddenly surrounded by a foreign land and a foreign language. He can’t tell people that he already has a family and becomes consumed by a single, impossible question: How do I get home? But after more than a decade, home becomes a much more complicated idea as the Indian boy eventually sheds his past and receives a new name: Taj Khyber Rowland.
It isn’t until Taj meets an Indian family who helps him rediscover his culture and family history that he begins to discover the truth he has all but forgotten. Taj is determined to return to India and begin the quest to find his birth family. But is it too late? Is it possible that his birth mother is still looking for him? And which family does he belong to now?
The Orphan Keeper is a deeply moving and gripping journey about discovering one’s self and the unbreakable family bonds that connect us forever.
Praise for the original adult edition:
"Despite being adopted from India, Taj is an excelling American teen. When he's matched with an Indian family during a study-abroad program in London, Taj begins to remember pieces of his childhood...and the family from which he was kidnapped and sold to an orphanage. Hoping to understand more about his identity, Taj immerses himself in Indian culture...and eventually marries an Indian woman who turns out to have a surprising connection to his past. Armed with a map drawn from memory, Taj returns to India to search for his birth family. Wright (The Rent Collector, 2012) turns the story of the real-life Chellamuthu/Taj into a meditation on identity and the meaning of family, and a novel that is sure to be a book club favorite."-Booklist
"When I finished The Orphan Keeper I was keenly aware of the fragility associated with losing something precious then finding something of even greater value. Beautifully crafted by Camron Wright...Like Dickens, the child in this story is subjected to loss leavened with love. Everything that happens is not fiction. It happened as written, and for a reader who waivers between agnosticism and belief, this is a story that has me - and keeps me - thinking. The loss and pain [is] described with consummate skill. The Orphan Keeper taps into questions of coincidence and belief that have kept me in a state of wonder since I reluctantly closed its covers. Amazing read."-The Huffington Post
"A deftly crafted and consistently compelling read from beginning to end. Riveting story of self-discovery and will prove to be an enduring popular addition to community library collections. Very highly recommended." -Midwest Book Review
"Fascinating novel paints a detailed picture of India far from the glamour of Bollywood, and takes the reader deep into what it means to lose a family and be transplanted into a new culture. It also details the drive of an adult to rediscover what was lost. Taj's story entertains and touches the heart."
-Washington Independent Review of Books
"Truly a remarkable story of one young man's journey to discover his past. Camron Wright's fascinating novel is actually based on a true story, which makes it all the more powerful."
(four and a half out of five stars)-Portland Book Review
Foreword Reviews 2016 Indies Book of the Year Award gold-medal winner--MULTICULTURAL
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 39 members
Chellamuth’s life is forever altered after he is kidnapped from his Southern India village and sold to the orphanage, Lincoln Home for Homeless Children. While Chellamuth is desperately trying to tell the staff of the orphanage that he has a family, his family is on the outside searching for him. Soon Chellamuth is adopted to an American family and thrown into the foreign land, language and lifestyle. After a decade of living a lie and seeking for answers on how to get back to hi homeland, Chellamuth now has a new name, and has met another Indian family who brings him back to his culture.
Talk about a page turning, tear filled time with this one! This is based on a true story and is filled with so much emotion and love. Chellamuth is a beautiful young boy who grows into a strong young man and never looses hope and his heart for his family. So happy that this book was adapted for a younger audience!
The Orphan Keeper is a story about a boy from India who is kidnapped and placed in an orphanage, and then adopted by a family in the United States. The story begins with Chellamuthu's early childhood, which is a mix of memories and realistic fictionalized events that may have occurred or were typical of this time period and location. While waiting for his father to complete some business, Chellamuthu is kidnapped at about age 7 and taken to an orphanage under the impression that he has no living family. Despite Chellamuthu's attempts to alert the organizers to the fact that he has a family, he is eventually adopted to a family in the states in a fairly sketchy adoption. Chellamuthu's adoptive parents provide him a home and family and support him but also make some mistakes that affect him for most of his life.
This edition is a young readers edition and while I have not read the adult version so I can't make comparisons, I do feel that this book is interesting for both young and adult readers. The book is very well written and easy to comprehend. Despite some jumping back and forth in time periods and locations, it is easy to follow. The storyline is interesting and captivating, especially closer to the end when he begins a search for family. I would recommend this book to middle and highschool grade teachers interested in exploring racism and the "white saviour" mindset that was common in the past and still shines through today. I would also recommend this book to anyone interested in adoption memoirs, stories about finding lost family members and coming of age stories for teens and adults who have experienced traumatic childhoods. I so appreciate Netgalley and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read and review this awesome book!
Sooooo good! Cameron Wright has a a powerful way with words. This story will not only make you feel all the feels but you will feel them deep in your heart. Definitely recommend!
The Orphan Keeper is a story of a child’s journey through kidnapping, international adoption, and rediscovery of his roots. It is a fascinating story, but I find it hard to shelve it in traditional literary categories.
Chellamuthu is a seven-year-old child growing up in Erode, India. When he is kidnapped and sold to an orphanage, he finds himself adopted by American parents in a secret and lucrative business deal. As he grows up in America, he never finds his place, always feeling like an outsider until a study abroad trip brings him into contact with a large Indian community in London. His experiences in London trigger long-buried memories that lead him back to India to
search for his roots.
His story is tragic, enraging, and encouraging in turns. Most readers will be horrified by the practice of kidnapping children to sell to adoptive parents in other countries, and many will be touched by Chellamuthu’s resilience, persistence, and eventual success. While the story is enthralling, it covers Chellamuthu’s life from childhood through adulthood, so it defies easy categorization. It is not written in a manner that would naturally draw in young readers, so it will be most appropriate for young adults or adult readers who will value Cheelamithu’s journey. Younger readers may be interested in the early parts of the story, while adults will value Chellamuthu’s eventual search for his biological family and homeland. The concept of this story is important and intriguing, and I wish that it’s style and voice were more appealing to a specific audience.
Taj Rowland’s life is a remarkable story. His full-circle journey is retold here (with some respectable liberties) in a lovely way. It’s a wonderful glimpse of part of the culture/traditions/ways of life in India. I believe it will keep the attention of young adult readers and offer them a wildly differing life perspective.
Book based on true story always become my weakness. And in this book Chellamuth's life successful make my heart turn upside. Kidnapped since young age from his Southern India village, and then sold to orphanage we will saw how this young boy fighting for found his own family again.
This memoir book is intense, feel me with so much heartbroken moments and yet it give it comfort and hope.
I would recommend this book to reader who love this type of story and understand the beauty of it.
Thanks Netgalley for providing me with this book.
NOTE: I was given early access to this manuscript in exchange for writing an impartial review. Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing. Scheduled Publication: October 4, 2022.
An important clarification. This review references the YOUNG ADULT version of a longer adult novel by the same name, THE ORPHAN KEEPER, that was published in 2016. And I, for one, am glad this story is now accessible to a younger audience.
Based on a true story (there are photos at the end of the book), the novel tells the story of one child in India who is adopted and raised in the United States. Chellamuthu’s transition from Indian poverty to American middle class isn’t what you might expect. Though not a victim of physical abuse or mistreatment, Chellamuthu’s is a victim of clandestine and economically-driven adoption practices that unfairly uproot a powerless seven-year-old boy, who just happens to be in the wrong place and the wrong time.
It’s a rich and at times suspenseful story about someone who struggles with identity and often feels like an outsider. About his internal struggle between two cultures and about a young person trying to reckon two parts of oneself. There’s a protagonist that is easy for younger readers to identify with and the novel raises some challenging questions to ponder about diversity, race, and identity. Not to mention the issues involved in adopting a child of a different racial or cultural identity.
This is a plot-driven book with plenty of action that follows Chellamuthu from child to adult. It would be an excellent book to assign to a middle school class to read and discuss as a group.
Seven-year-old Chellamutha is living in abject poverty with his family in India when one day he is kidnapped, sold to an orphanage, and ultimately adopted by a family in America. Over time Chellamutha, (who is renamed Taj) forgets is childhood in India and although loved and treated well by his adopted family, he never feels he belongs. It is only after attending college abroad in London and living with an Indian family that he starts to put the puzzle pieces of memory together. Based on a true story, readers are taken on a journey of self-discovery, the importance of family and finding one’s place in the world. Dealing with the very real problem of human trafficking, it’s not a light read, but a very important one. Thank to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an E-Arc in exchange for an honest review,
The Orphan Keeper is a tender, thought provoking story based on true events. I enjoyed reading about Chellamuthu's journey from an Indian orphanage after being kidnapped, to his new home in the US. The novel gave an interesting insight into the dark side of international adoptions and how organizations sometimes exploit the children they purport to protect. Overall, an enjoyable read and highly recommend.
This book tells the novelized real life story of the main character. First published in 2017 as an adult novel, it has now been adapted for young readers, the version I read. I think it worked well as a young readers version although perhaps some of the things that I found just average about the plot and the characterization could come from a possibly simplistic adaptation. Having not read the original version, I do not know if this is true or not.
This book can be split into two primary portions, childhood, and young adult years. The main character loves his family but struggles in the endemic poverty of his small Indian village as well as the alcoholism of his father. One day he finds himself kidnapped by people who work for a Christian orphanage many hours away and through this, even though he repeatedly tells people that he has a family, ends up adopted by a couple in the United States. The second half of the book picks up as he is about to head to college and finds himself in a study aboard program in London and through an interesting turn of events returning to India and finding his birth family.
This book read quickly. I did not mind the read but I did not really feel challenged in any way either.
Knowing that this is the -mostly- true story of Chellamuthu (Taj Rowland), makes everything I read that much more heart wrenching. Camron Wright does an incredible job of sharing the story of an "orphan" adopted from India and raised in America. I read the whole story in one day -- I just couldn't put it down until I found out how it ended for poor Chellamuthu and his family.
I definitely want to read the adult version of this story now!
What an amazing story of persistence and following your 'map'. Chellamuthu/Taj's story is incredibly beautiful. It is all about love of family, love of others, cultures that are different and friendships that last through thick and thin. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. That it was based on reality is mind blowing. To me this reaffirmed that God is in the details of our lives.
When eight year old Chellamuthu is taken from his home in India he is quickly adopted by a family in America, little do they know that Chellamuthu is not an orphan at all: he was kidnapped. Meanwhile back in India Chellamuthu's parents are looking everywhere for him, he his mother is visiting plenty of spiritualists, one of which telling her that Chellamuthu will one day return home.
Over the next few years Chellamuthu now re-named Taj has forgotten major details about his life in India despite people telling him he looks Indian he insists he is American through and through but when he visits London he stays with an Indian family and has the pleasure of eating curry which he realizes tastes somewhat familiar, slowly over time his life in India starts to come back to him. Thoroughly enjoyed this book which is interesting because I do not often read true stories. I would recommend this book although I did struggle to follow the story line at times, but that might have been because this book was making me turn to pages until way past my bedtime. Another complaint is that after reading this book I realized is the cover has no link to the story and the title The Orphan Keeper is an interesting choice as very little time is spent at the orphanage. Although there is a tiny bit of humour in the book it wasn't really necessary to the story and was only occasionally funny.
Going into this I was expecting a completely different story so it is safe to say that this story exceeded my expectations. Very quick to read and filled with suspense. If true stories are your thing or even if there not I recommend giving this book a change because in my opinion it was massively fun to read.
this book is fascinating, engaging and thought provoking. The insights into Indian culture and tradition as well as folklore and superstition is so beautifully woven into this story making it not just about a boy stolen from his family but also highlights real world issues. The twists and turns are like a roller coaster. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to read this story!
Every once in a while you come across a book that helps you realize what a blessed life you lead.
This edition of The Orphan Keeper was written as an adaptation for young readers. It follows the life of Chellamuthu, a young Indian boy who is very good at getting into trouble. Because of some of his associations, he is kidnapped and adopted by a family in the United States.
This story is really about hope. His mother in India prays for her lost son, while his family in the United States gives him an education that eventually helps his family in India. I felt good as the story came to its conclusion.
This book will take children on an adventure in India, to a childhood in the United States, and to school in London. I am reminded of the chorus to the song "The Circle of Life."
Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own,
This book is apparently a younger reader's retelling of a book of the same name which is a retelling of a real story, pretty wild huh? By the same author who wrote The Rent Collector which I also read as an ARC. Chellamuthu is a young boy living in southern India when one day he's kidnapped and driven to a Christian orphanage. Through there they get him adopted by a loving couple in the US who wanted a girl, but they send this boy instead. Chellamuthu has a hard time there as he's separated from his family, and his new parents don't know that he's been kidnapped and isn't really an orphan. They also change his name to Taj as it's simpler... He grows up as the only Indian boy for miles and becomes pretty popular and deosn't want to connect with his culture and sees himself as white on the inside. But a study abroad program in London changes him and he starts on a crazy quest to find his home and biological family.
I'd say it's pretty much very similar to the movie Lion story-wise, and it's crazy because they're both actual true stories of Indian kids losing to some western country and then wanting to find their way back. What are the coincidences?
The story is pretty quick and fast-driven, which I guess works for younger peeps? But some things felt so rushed, which was annoying. It took me just three days of half an hour reading to finish... I didn't really like his personality as a young adult much, but hey, he was an actual human so I can't say anything about that, lol.
I had the same concerns as for The Rent Collector book... it just feels weird having some white American dude write and earn money from stories of actual people... and the way he writes America feels pretty supremacist, especially in the Rent Collector, while here it's pretty stereotypical... India is written and described as pretty stereotypical, in the way that the media and Hollywood show it, and not really how it is to actual Indians, and it made me a non-Indian person a bit uncomfortable. I wouldn't want anyone to write my country incorrectly and stereotypically either... but I guess the real Chellamuthu/Taj did agree for his story to be told by this author so...
Anyways the story is inspiring and interesting, if you want these kinds of true stories where their dreams come true and whatnot, I recommend this one!
This book was really, really emotional, and it opened my eyes to a problem that I wasn't even aware the world had (seriously, I truly didn't realize it occurred).
Chellamuthu is barely 8, but with his parents working tirelessly to make ends meet, he's able to get up to a lot of mischief. One day, as a consequence of his misadventures, he gets kidnapped and sold to an orphanage - where no one will believe that he has an actual family. And from there, he's off to the States via adoption. No one in the USA understands him, and what's more, he's bullied because of his dark skin. By the time we fast forward to 10 years later, he's completely forgotten his heritage - his dark skin is the only indication he's not American-born. Now known as Taj Rowland, he's a rebellious teenager intent on finding his place in the world. With his journey of self-discovery comes a series of misadventures and a truly satisfying and emotional conclusion.
Multiple times have I come close to crying - and actually have shed a few tears. The author does an amazing job of turning Chellamuthu/Taj's biography into an incredible and compelling story filled with lush details. He makes the story so heartfelt and moving, and I truly hope that this book raises more awareness to such a serious cause.
Note: I think the cover looks better suited for a fantasy. I love it, but I just don't think it represents the book very well.
This is the true story of Taj Rowland, formerly Chellamuthu Gounder. He was from a poor family in India until one day he was kidnapped off the street of his village and taken to an orphanage. From there he was adopted by a family in the U.S. at the age of 8 and grew up as a middle class American kid.
In his late teens to early twenties Taj began experiencing random, vague flashbacks of memories from his early childhood. He wanted to capture those bits of his youth and create a map of his early home in hopes of one day finding his birth family. Meanwhile he completed college, met the girl of his dreams and started an import business.
“The Orphan Keeper” is an emotional tale about a child who was ripped from his childhood home and dragged halfway around the world to a place where he didn’t speak the language or even look like anyone else. He managed to excel at life, thanks in large part to a wonderfully supportive adoptive family, and today is a very successful businessman with a large extended family. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for my voluntary honest review. I was very moved by this story and impressed by the resilience of Raj.
This book was an interesting story set in a wonderfully expansive world. I loved getting to experience this story. In this world you will find twists and turns around each corner.
I would first like to thank Netgalley for granting me permission to read the early release of the book The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright. The Orphan Keeper was such a compelling story and the fact that is based on a true story makes it even more incredible. It has elements of just about every genre in it: Action/Adventure; Historical Fiction; Multi-Cultural Fiction; Mystery Fiction; Romance Fiction; Realistic Fiction and Biography/memoir. It's horrifying to realize that this situation actually happens on a daily basis in India, but, alas, it does. The very beginning of the book was able to explain the psychological trauma that poor Chellamuthu went through just to survive the whole ordeal. It was heartbreaking to read about. It was interesting to see how that trauma affected him when he became a teenager. The search for his home and his family was intense. Once I reached that part of the book, I could not put it down. I was so invested in the characters that I did not want to wait for the reunion, and I just kept reading the book as fast as I could. The ending was a complete full circle to the story. The book also contained pictures at the end of the story which was just the icing on top of the cake. I loved seeing the photographs of the actual people the characters were based on. This book was the young adult adaptation, so it was written for a younger audience. I would recommend this book to anyone from middle school and above and would give this book a Five out of Five stars.
I enjoyed the full circle effects of this book, and liked the storyline itself. I would have liked to see more of Raj's childhood year while in American, but the story was quite heartwarming. I feel like the writing is good for this kind of story (historical fiction/based on true events) and I feel that Camron Wright did justice to Chellamuthu"s life and his story.
This book is based on a true story and just speaks to all. Taj is trying to find his family roots and it brings his back to childhood where he was kidnapped and sold to an orphanage. I enjoyed this book and love that there is version for younger readers available so I can share with my middle schooler. This book spoke to me as much as the first time I read it.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book is well written and the characters are described well. This talks about something that happens every day kidnappings. I absolutely enjoyed Chellamuthu's character. This book is fast paced and set in India and in America. I enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. This book will be in stores on October 4th for $17.99 (USD).
The Orphan Keeper is now thankfully in Young Adult format and is a wonderful, wonderful true story about a young boy from India who was kidnapped, sold to an orphanage and then sent to America to live with his adopted parents. The writing is gorgeous, the details are rich and emotive and the story itself is incredible! It took my heart on a roller coaster ride and entranced me the entire time. Not only is the kidnapping story one of terrible heartache but also of fierce determination, cultural and racial attitudes of the main character and others, what family means and the promise of hope. Though geared for youth, I enjoyed it tremendously as an adult.
Chellamuth was born in India. Described in detail are his parents and home life, one of poverty. He was kidnapped at the age of eight and sold to an orphanage. He was then sent to live with his new adoptive parents in America where his life could not be more different. Even his name changed to Taj for ease. Eventually as a teen and young adult living on his own in London he believed himself to be Indian in colour only. He started having flashbacks and with the woman of his dreams was compelled to returned to India to find his family and roots.
My favourite aspects of the story are multi-fold including learning more about India's culture, reflecting on the horrible reality of kidnapping there, the writing style, suspense and the vivid details. The photographs and letters are a lovely personal touch as are the author's notes of what happens after.
My sincere thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this extraordinary book, one that should be on every reader's list!
The Orphan Keeper by Cameron Wright
I will preface this by saying I have yet to read the original version so I don’t know how it compares. However, this book has been on my TBR for years so when I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of the adapted version, I jumped on it.
The Orphan Keeper is a fictionalized story based on the real life experiences of a boy kidnapped from his family in India and then adopted by a couple in the United States.
I wish I had read the story sooner! It is so good. It’s hard to grabble with my feelings on this one. Losing a child is a mother’s worst nightmare. What Taj experienced, horrible. And while it could have been so much worse, that doesn’t discount the awfulness of the situation. Torn from the only home you’ve ever known and taken across the globe to entirely new culture where there’s not a single person who looks like you or speaks your language, would be enough to break anyone. But this story is laced with faith and filled with hope. Truly breathtaking.
The story felt a little disjointed at times and I still have a few questions but the writing is beautiful and the journey worth it.
Content: poverty, theft, kidnapping, death
This book would be a great addition to any middle school library. This book is full of emotions and has just enough suspense and drama to hold your attention from the first page until the last. It's a great read that you don't want to miss.
I received a complimentary copy from Shadow Mountain Publishing via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I received a complimentary ARC of this real-life story of Tij Rowland from Netgalley, Camron Wright, and publisher Shadow Mountain. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Orphan Keeper of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. Cameron Wright is an author I will now follow. He writes a well-written, emotionally full telling of the history of the life of this youngster, Chellamuthu Gounder, kidnapped at 8 years old from his home in India and sold to an American couple as an orphan. Renamed Taj Rowland and loved by his new family, Taj grows into a smart, well-educated adult, hard-working, and though loving his current family, he never stops looking for his first family. It is a trip through time and space that will warm your heart. I am pleased to recommend The Orphan Keeper and Camron Wright to friends and family. This is a book I think you will love.
I read the original version of the book so thought it would be very interesting to read the story adapted for younger readers. I found the story very similar taking into consideration the simplification. The book tells the true story of a boy who is kidnapped from his family , taken to an orphanage and then adopted. It tells of financially motivated adoption. Shocking but compelling.
Life changing true story
This story is so amazing it seems unbelievable, but it’s true! If you haven’t read it, you need to. Taj went through the unthinkable and used his experience to bless the lives of his family and others in India.
The original version of this story is one of my favorites because it made an impact on me when I first read it and has stuck with me since. It’s the kind of book you want to share with everyone around you. I had high hopes for this new version adapted for younger readers and it lived up to my expectations. I didn’t want to put it down. It brought tears to my eyes and reminded me that miracles really do happen. It’s a reminder that sometimes when things aren’t going your way, bigger things might be in store for you. Five solid stars. Thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC to use for my review.
Content warning: Some violence, physical abuse, kidnapping.
Kidnapped from his village in southern India, Chellamuthu is frantic to return to his family. Sold to the Lincoln Home for Homeless Children, he is eventually adopted by a family in America, always insisting that he is not homeless. Now named Taj, he is determined to return to India and find his roots and ultimately his true self. Well written.
This is Chellamuthu's story. He might have lived a poor life in India, but he had a family that loved him. One day, that is all taken away from him when he is kidnapped from the street and adopted by a family in America. But that love between a child and their mother can never be broken. It might be lost for a little while, but it can be found again.
This was a beautiful read. While fictionalized, it is based on a real person and the events surrounding their life. I can only imagine what it was like for both Chellamuthu and his mother - both searching for one another but not knowing where to look. I loved that she never lost hope and even sought readings from astrologers and psychics to try and ease her mind if her son was alive or not.
Chellamuthu (aka Taj) was sent to America when he was approximately eight years old. It took him a long time to fit in, learn the language, and adapt to his new family. He didn't forget about his life in India right away, but slowly the images and memories faded. That is until much later in life when little things start triggering the memories. Once the memories started flooding back, it felt like he couldn't find them quickly enough. He went to great lengths to find them, and this was a time before social media, cell phones, and email was a new thing.
I enjoyed reading this book and could relate to many of the characters and the emotions they felt at different times in their lives. I especially liked Taj finding his family and how they blended his American family with his Indian family. There are even photos at the end that were fun to look at.
This would be a good book for young readers 10 and older.
We give this book 4 paws up.
Chellamuthu is a mischievous 7-year-old boy living a life of poverty in southern India. His world is shattered when he is kidnapped. He is taken to an orphanage. He finds that he isn’t able to convince them that he is not an orphan — that he has a mother. He finds himself adopted by a couple Fred and Linda Rowland in America where he becomes an “American.” They change his name to Taj Rowland. Taj goes to London on a study abroad program. He meets an Indian family and discovers his culture that he has forgotten. Taj decides that he will go to India and find his past. Taj returns to his home in America where he is busy with work and school and sets aside finding his past. When Taj sees a picture of Prius (an Indian girl) falls in love, he decides to go to India to court her find his past.and his first family.
This book is based on a true story. It covers detail and people. There are descriptions of Indian culture. I enjoyed reading the life of Taj. I found the story inspiring and fascinating.
Brilliant! I love Camron Wright's stories! They are brilliant and really help you think about the world and see the good!
The Orphan Keeper is a mostly true account of a young boy named Chellamuthu who is kidnapped from his family in India. Chellamuthu grew up in Erode, India with his family. When he was about 7, he was kidnapped and taken to an orphanage. The people there treated him well, fed him, and gave him clean clothes. But Chellamuthu knew he had a family and wanted to get back to them. He tried escaping a few times, but eventually realized he wouldn’t be able to make it on his own. He was eventually adopted by a nice family in America. They were told he was 3 and an orphan. When they realized Chellamuthu had a family, they tried getting information from the American consulate in India. Although he had a good life and his family loved him, Chellamuthu always felt he was missing something. His journey of life in America, and back to India is a powerful one. He had many setbacks and hard times, but his dream was always to go back to India and find his family. His story is nothing short of courageous, and amazing.
I love that these books are being adapted for younger readers. This was a well-done adaptation.
Chellamathu is pushing the boundaries of what he can get away with. His mother is working full-time and is unable to monitor him. His father is a drunk who is never around. Living in Southern India, they are poor, but Chellamathu is mostly content with his life. But then tragically one day he is kidnapped and sold to an orphanage a couple hours away. There is no way for him to escape or let his family know he is alive. When he is adopted to an American family, his name is changed to Taj and he never fully feels loved or accepted. As an adult he returns to India to search out his roots and the reunion that follows is moving and tragic at the same time. Such a beautiful journey of finding meaning and identity in life.
Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
"Listen to the wind, feel the water. See where life's breezes wants to take you. Look, if God wants to give you a bigger oar, he will. He has plenty. There are times, however, when life is trying to blow us one way and we're paddling like crazy the other. Occasionally we just need to stop and be grateful."
The Orphan Keeper which I read is an adapted version of the original book for young readers and is hence a very condensed story. This story is of a man who is in search of his family of origin. It is also a story of a young boy who lost his family. Chellamuthu is a mischievous boy who is loved but in an unfortunate circumstance loses his family. He finds an adopted home but there is a huge part of his heart which is missing. It is a quest of a man to find himself.
For a reader, who is unaware of Indian cultures this story might be hard to understand with all the cultural references and words used. The Orphan Keeper is a must reader for anyone who 0loves to read books where you find yourself again.
Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing and Netgalley.
I have read and reviewed another book by the author quite recently. That, too, was an adapted version for younger readers.
This story is based on real-life incidents. The book, however, does not seem to qualify as non-fiction, probably because of the lack of confirmation for specific events. A young boy is living his life in southern India when he is tricked into entering a van delivering children to 'orphanages'. These orphanages, in turn, sell the kids to people abroad who want to adopt from poorer countries. This whole twisted process might be much for children to process, but the way it is described, with a bit of help, the younger audience might be able to understand.
Unlike another such story which was made into a film, Chellamuthu was not lost. Although his parents were hard on him, they were concerned about his well-being, and he fell into the deliberate net of people who participated in this farce frequently.
Due to strange circumstances, he was adopted by a family in the US and, over time, forgot his past. It was only at a later stage, when someone who could interpret his past for him, that new information emerged, and the entire family had a frank conversation about it all.
Unlike the other story I read in this format, I was a little dissatisfied with the lack of information in some instances. It felt a little abrupt and rushed.
I liked the story overall, and the author does cover some interesting topics. The photos and updates at the end certainly helped.
I might someday read the full unabridged version of this book to see if my opinion changes. The target audience will certainly have a lot to mull over with this tale.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my reading experience of this and another book by the author.
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