What I’m Reading: Orphan #8

I just finished up the book Orphan 8: A Novel by Kim Van Alkemade.  I’ll be honest..I was attacked to the book by it’s cover.  I know, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.

Then I read the review…”In this stunning new historical novel inspired by true events, Kim van Alkemade tells the fascinating story of a woman who must choose between revenge and mercy when she encounters the doctor who subjected her to dangerous medical experiments in a New York City Jewish orphanage years before.

In 1919, Rachel Rabinowitz is a vivacious four-year-old living with her family in a crowded tenement on New York City’s Lower Eastside. When tragedy strikes, Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage where Dr. Mildred Solomon is conducting medical research. Subjected to X-ray treatments that leave her disfigured, Rachel suffers years of cruel harassment from the other orphans. But when she turns fifteen, she runs away to Colorado hoping to find the brother she lost and discovers a family she never knew she had.

Though Rachel believes she’s shut out her painful childhood memories, years later she is confronted with her dark past when she becomes a nurse at Manhattan’s Old Hebrews Home and her patient is none other than the elderly, cancer-stricken Dr. Solomon. Rachel becomes obsessed with making Dr. Solomon acknowledge, and pay for, her wrongdoing. But each passing hour Rachel spends with the old doctor reveal to Rachel the complexities of her own nature. She realizes that a person’s fate—to be one who inflicts harm or one who heals—is not always set in stone.

Lush in historical detail, rich in atmosphere and based on true events, Orphan #8 is a powerful, affecting novel of the unexpected choices we are compelled to make that can shape our destinies.

The book cover looked good…the description sounded good….So did the cover and the description equal a good book?
I was disappointed.  I think it had to do with the reader.  She sounded so young when much of the book happens when the main character is older.  It says it’s historic fiction but nothing in the reading made it feel like it had taken place long ago except that they used a train for transportation.  When medical references to cross checking dosage amounts when meds were administered sound more like modern day with dosages being checked and rechecked.

This is a story spoiler…there is a lesbian relationship in the book.  The author describes a sex scene more than once.  That is not something I wanted to read.  Being I was listening to an audio book I just fast forwarded past it.  I really don’t think an extended description was necessary.

Another complaint….The book just ended.  There wasn’t a feeling of completeness when the book was done.

Amazon readers say 4.1 stars.  Not me.  I’m more along the 3 star level.  This was a book I judged by the cover and lost on.

2 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Orphan #8”

  1. Richard (in Charlotte, NC)

    Hmmm, I’ve never had an experience quite like yours … yet. I have had pretty good luck with picking out books to read by the cover. But then, you never know what I may have missed by not liking the covers of others.

    On another note, if you haven’t read it, John Grisham’s A Painted House is an interesting book written supposedly from the perspective of an 8-year old boy during the late ’20s – ’30s. I think I read it in 3 days flat.

    Thanks for sharing what you’re reading/listening to.

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