The Orphan Keeper – Book Review

We go on road trips so we have time to read books. 

And both this this trip and this book were both exceptional. 

I can’t wait to write more about our trip. But for now I just closed the cover on this book and my thoughts are still consumed. This beautifully, thoughtfully written this novel about young Chellamuthu being kidnapped in India, adopted to the U.S. and his quest to find his past captured my attention right away. 

Courage comes in doing common things. 

Most enlightening to me was sharing this book with Jetta. Even though she just turned 8 she’s incredible mature and has been a nurturer since the day she was born. Every time she’d see me buried in the book she would ask “What happened to the little boy? Did he escape the orphanage? Did he make it back to his family?” I debated how much detail to share about the kidnapping but realized the story depended on it and life will depend on us learning from the bruises of the past. As I neared the end she couldn’t wait “Did he find his family?” I’ll make you wait to find that out too. 

Reading and relaying story to young daughter and overhearing husband was a great way to internalize the message. She asked so Mang questions about the orphan keeper and why he did the things he had. Why he had gone to such lengths to get Chellamuthu to the U.S. when he had known he’d been kidnapped? Why was the title of the book about him, not about Taj? The morality of the situation is hard for adults and children alike to understand. But the focus is correctly shone in the title and throughout the book. 

“This is slavery, not to speak one’s thought.” -The Phoenician Women

We both resonated with Chellamuthu’s story coming home on Christmas Eve. Longed for him to be able to communicate and get out of his ‘box’. Recognized the lessons about bravery and heroes taught from inside that young boy’s mind. 

Jetta has been especially drawn to her two cousins recently adopted from China. She loves to play with them, translate their expectations and experience their new lives through their eyes. They have all taught me so much about how love is able to communicate over all. How life is full of new chances and hearts can be won over in an instant. 

I knew this novel was based off a true story. The prologue sealed my hope thet Taj and Pria’s story is just as special and incredible as the book tells. Read this book. Don’t peek ahead at the pictures at the end, but know that  the story is worth holding on for. 


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