Orphan #8

Orphan #8[Epub] ❤ Orphan #8 ➞ Kim van Alkemade – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk 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 subje 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 beforeIn 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 hadThough 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 stoneLush in historical detail rich in atmosphere and based on true events Orphan is a powerful affecting novel of the unexpected choices we are compelled to make that can shape our destinies. On the back cover the publisher describes this as A stunning debut novel of historical fiction set in the forgotten world of New York City's Jewish orphanages And while this novel does deliver a degree of historical fiction on that subject I felt like there was a hidden agenda being presented that the publisher chose not to mention Perhaps the author felt that making the Rachel the main character a lesbian would garner sympathy to her plight as an abused orphan It actually detracted from the events that seemed crucial to the story Silly contrived scenes had me rolling my eyes By the end of chapter 6 I wasn't sure I wanted to continue reading However I was interested in what drew me to the book to begin with so I forced myself to continue But by the last chapter when the writing turned needlessly explicit I was just done with it and gave up The author does have talent but I feel like she allowed a personal agenda get in the way of what could have been a meaningful novel I would have liked to have read about her relationships with her brother and those who helped her along the way There was so much depth that could have added regarding the aspects of vengeance vs forgiveness It just felt like the author breezed past these opportunities I appreciate that goodreads does ask for and allow us to give our honest opinion freely and hope that you'll keep that in mind I realize not everyone will feel the same way about this novel and that's okay But I do wish I had found a review that had revealed the direction the story goes in before buying this book I cant help but feel this book belongs in another genre than historical fiction A better written cover synopsis on the part of the publisher would be appreciated too A book inspired by true events is always intriguing to me because as I'm reading it I can't help but wonder about the specifics Who of the characters is based on real people and how much of the plot is real or imagined ? There are big ethical issues at the center of this story Rachel a nurse at the Old Hebrews Home in mid 1950's discovers that her new patient is someone from her past Flashbacks to four year old Rachel in The Hebrew Infant Home show her suffering at the hands of cruel doctors who perform medical experiments She realizes that the patient was one of her doctors Will Rachel take revenge now that she has the opportunity? Chapters alternate between her present as an adult and as a four year old in the orphanage The flashback chapters were very difficult to read sickening actually Imprisoned in a crib behind glass she becomes a victim of cruel experimentation that leaves her without hair which won't grow as s result of exposure to X rays as a child There are further physical implications when Rachel discovers she may have breast cancer The descriptions of what is done to Rachel is chilling and so very sad to think that was done to innocent children already enduring tragedies of losing parents Administering chloroform strapping them down force feeding barium it was heartbreaking to read what Rachel and other children enduredThis is reminiscent of what we know about medical experiments done to the Jews in the concentration camps How shameful that this was allowed here in this country I know there are other examples of this and this is eually horrific While all of this has happened to Rachel she is also struggling with her brother Sam moving in and out of her life when she always thought he would be there to protect her In addition we see her coming to terms with and understanding her sexuality as a young girl and as an adult having to hide her love for another woman from those around her This is a terrific effort for a debut novel and Kim van Alkemade has told a heart wrenching story that grabbed me from the first chapter The author does tell us in a note that the story was inspired by her grandfather and his mother who are indeed characters in the book Whether or not Rachel was a real person doesn't matter since Rachel represents one of the many orphan children who suffered in the name of medical researchThanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss Great historical snapshot of orphanages and the medical experimentation occurring on the orphans at the time Told in two timelines; when Rachel is 4 and enters the orphanage and experimentation begins and then Rachel is forty something and working as a geriatric nurse when a new patient comes under her care the very doctor that caused so much suffering for Rachel in the orphanage Both stories unfold and the reader uickly realizes the horrible conditions of said orphanages although they may have been preferable to living in the street Rachel is flooded with memories of her time in the orphanage and how she suffered particularly subjected to radiation exposure over and over again She is then faced with a dilemma of showing payback to this doctor or forgiveness and professionalism Great historical information well written in the perspective of a child hungry for attention The downside was the lack of character development and contrived situations like the way Rachel becomes an orphan Can a father figure be flat and predictably selfish? Just not believable Then there is a surprise storyline that Rachel is a lesbian Surprise sloppy groping with a stranger yet longing for her lover to return to her Soooooo was this a story that informed the reader about the medical experiments on children in orphanages or was the author contriving and inserting her political statement? The latter? I'm just not a fan More than that it just didn't fit with the story It was a meandering that distracted from the core of the story Orphan #8 is a standalone historical fiction novel written by English professor and now author Kim van Alkemade This is her first published novel The synopsis of Orphan #8 immediately intrigued me and as I began the audiobook I felt engaged right away The main character Rachel Rabinowitz is a work of fiction but her story is based on very real people places and events from 1920's America Orphan #8 follows Rachel through alternating timeframes first when she is a young child who has been committed to an orphanage and then as an adult who continues to be physically and emotionally haunted by her young life experiences This setup creates two distinct storylines that alternate as the story progresses In her book Ms Alkemade has layered many important elements for readers to reflect on The ones I noted include the treatment of children in social services the loss of cultural spiritual familial identity often experienced by children in care the emotional and social stressors commonly associated with appearing physically different than others historical views towards women's independence and sexuality the beautiful sense of connectedness felt among the Jewish people and the power we all possess to hold blame or let go to seek retribution or offer forgiveness to inflict harm or show mercy I enjoyed Orphan #8 and am so glad I read it Check it out Note Ms Alkemade spent eight years researching and writing this novel and it appears to be a deeply personal project for her and her family I read her entire website amazed at the multiple true stories that inspired the direction of this book If you end up reading Orphan #8 I highly recommend that you check out Ms Alkemade's website HERE to gain some insight into how personal this was for her I like the book even now because of itMy favorite uote “To Sam I said “Sometimes I ask myself if there's any limit to the harm that people can do to each other” “No” he said “There's no limit” I really enjoy historical fiction books that expose me to real history I never knew about I can't say that I'm surprised that medical professionals exploited orphans for medical research It's much easier to use someone who cannot fight back for themselves and has no one to fight for them I understand that Dr Solomon and the real doctors like her thought the good that would come from the research would outweigh whatever bad things may have happened to these children but to dehumanize even one person for the sake of the common good is not worth the cost My husband and I have considered adopting a child instead of having a child who is biologically ours This story most definitely made me want to make that a reality even than what I was already considering I cannot even begin to image how difficult and possibly damaging it must be to grow up with no one It was clear from early in the story that Rachael craved female affection and how could she not? Even when her mother was alive they weren't especially close I was a little put off by how the author made just about every man Rachael came into contact with a jerk to the extreme Are there bad men in the world? Absolutely But there are also a lot of good men who would never dream of exploiting or hurting anyone for personal gain or personal desires Seems to me that the jacket summary of a book should include the major themes of the book but this one does not The fact there is a major lesbian story line in this book isn't a spoiler but should be made known to potential readers Then the author decides to include explicit bedroom scenes and that ruined it for me completely I liked the premise of Rachel coming face to face with the Dr who performed x ray experiments on her as a child but this arc was overshadowed and treated as almost an afterthought I was hoping the narrative would concentrate primarily on Dr Solomon and Rachel’s encounter along with flashbacks to her orphanage days instead it laid a heavier hand on Rachel and her relationship with her girlfriend I wasn’t expecting a plot focusing on romance needless to say I was letdownThe plot was too busy for my taste I wish Sam and Rachel were developed we were merely granted a sampling of their personalities limiting our familiarity on a personal level a picture painted of what they endured not their essenceDisturbing to realize medical experiments were performed on orphaned children The entire orphanage experience is heartbreaking I found myself uestioning what would I do if in Rachel’s shoes love it when a plot possess a dilemma forcing me to uestion my thoughts and actions to those of characters involvedSuper fast paced read with lots going on posing several uestions and what would you do scenariosFor this and other reviews along with giveaways visit Although I give credit to van Alkemade for bringing history to light this book would have been so much better in the hands of an author such as Kristin Hannah or Jodi Picoult an author who can tell the story without alienating or even offending the reader This book had such potential and for me it was ruined by the characters and lack of development Very jarring scenes stuck in the storyline that broke the flow of the story and took away from the historical knowledge she was sharing I felt almost like the author hated men and maybe she thought we would feel that way as she tries to make amends by having Rachel reflect toward the end that not all men are bad like her brother and Vic That was a last minute Hail Mary to save face in a book where men are depicted horribly I only kept reading this book for the historical information and that ended a little over 12 way through the book And I disliked Rachel from the very first pages when I found her to be an annoying screaming brat of a child Her lying manipulative deceitful ways continued I never felt sympathy for this character I did feel sympathyempathy and anguish for those in real life but this character did nothing to endear me The only character interaction that was remotely believable and satisfying was when Rachel stated to the doctor that she felt the treatment she endured was similar to what the Jews in concentration camps endured This could have been such a wonderful book had it been developed properly It seemed almost like she tried to infuse too much of the 2015 society into 1950's to advance her own agenda Read this only for the historical knowledge that is being brought to light Better yet just flip to the back section and read her research and check out some other books about it Author Kim van Alkemade was researching her own family history when she came across a purchase for wigs for eight young children who had lost their hair after X ray treatments in a New York Jewish orphanage The powerless healthy orphans had been used in medical research to see if X rays could shrink the tonsils Orphan #8 is Rachel Rabinowitz a fictional character who received the largest dose of radiation as the subject of Dr Mildred Solomon's researchFast forward to 1954 Dr Solomon is admitted to the hospice unit where Rachel works as a nurse Dr Solomon's terminal bone cancer was caused by her exposure to X rays as a radiologist Rachel now has a serious health problem due to the intense X rays received when she was a toddler The book alternates between Rachel's early life and 1954 as it reveals the secrets of Rachel's past and the choices she made Rachel confronts the doctor hoping for an explanation and an apology The tables are turned in 1954 Rachel is the person with power since she administers the medication and Dr Solomon is a powerless patient in pain Rachel has the choice of taking revenge or offering forgivenessWe would cringe today over how large institutions treated orphans in the 1920s but there was a huge need for orphanages during that hard economic time The book presents many moralethical issues a look at history during the Depression and World War II the role of women in that era and the difficulty of a same sex relationship Orphan #8 is an interesting thought provoking book with book club material at the end of the book Though I was initially startled by the switch in point of view the narrative has great flow Characters are complex and I was kept in suspenseAlso it's excellent to see some lesbian representation in historical fiction

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  • ebook
  • 416 pages
  • Orphan #8
  • Kim van Alkemade
  • 08 February 2014
  • 9780062338310