I always wonder where the reality ends the fiction begins with Camron Wrights books Based on true life events this story as so many other stories prove again that truth is stranger than fiction So what s special about this book The Orphan Keeper is rich in detail and weighted in the souls deepest utterances We see bits of ourselves in many of the characters Which is why we can so deliberately come to love and care for these people so easily and earnestly It is a beautiful symphony in humanity A search for self, for family, some of our deepest questions are born in story, in hearts, and in tears, and we are witnesses to its beauty At the end there is nothing you want than to share it. If a child is kidnapped from hell and carried to heaven, should we condemn the kidnapper Chellamuthu was a mischievous seven year old running free in Erode, the village where his humble home was located Though poor and struggling, he had a loving family That is until he was kidnapped and sold to the Lincoln Home for Homeless Children, a Christian orphanage Any atempt to communicate the fact that he was not an orphan fell on deaf ears Eventually Chellamuthu is adopted by Fred and Linda Rowland, an American couple It takes a few months for Chellamuthu to learn enough english to alert his adoptive parents about his family in India Thus begins a difficult journey of discovery.This novel lived on my nightstand for close to a month It had nothing to do with the content, just too many distractions Based on a real life story this book was thoughtful, profound and ultimately inspiring While waiting for his father, Chellamuthu is lured into a van that takes off quickly and he is not alone He arrives at the Lincoln Home for Homeless Children scared and confused The staff insist he belongs there but Chellamuthu is no orphan No amount of insisting gets Chellamuthu closer to his family Rather he finds his way to the United States where he eventually becomes Taj Rowland Having supressed his memories, Taj is haunted by his past getting small recollections that make no sense to him Dealing with belonging and identity, the novel asks the question how do we find our true home Taj struggles as his past and present act as two separate entities rather than a complete image There is only one way to learn who he truly is he has to find his birth family Heartbreaking, moving and sad, this novel was a compelling read.Taj was taken in 1978, at the age of seven He lived the reminder of his childhood in Utah As an adult, he was able to go back to India The way in which he was able to locate his family is nothing short of amazing in this regard his story is similar to that of Saroo Brierly Aided only by his memory and a series of coincidences, he achieved what some considered impossible While this work is written as fiction, Wright stayed as true to the story as possible Sadly, Taj is only one of thousands of cases of children taken from their families While getting an accurate number is difficult, its estimated that 40,000 children are taken from India every year for a variety of reasons, including false adoptions I am glad Wright helped bring this story to the forefront and hope that many children victim to this situations find closure. Chellamuthu has been through much in his eight years His family poor, he is made to do things he would not normally do by a group of older boys, boys that tended to be the bullies of the small town where he lived in.He will be kidnapped off the street, taken to an orphanage, and eventually adopted into an American family He would eventually forget his early years until he starts getting glimmers of his past when he attend school in England and boards with an Indian family.Stories based on true events are always for me significant I enjoyed reading about his time in the orphanage which was run by a misguided man with good intentions Chella will show his caring ways early on, trying to save another young orphan, but always missing his home, his real family In America, his name will be changed to Raj, easier to pronounce, his new family hoping it will allow him to fit in at school A very endearing story, startling loss, his new parents loving,, adopting many from different cultures when they can not have children of their own He meets many people who will reach out to him with their willingness to help At times the dialogue was too emotive, a bit overwritten but overall this was a wonderful story about a young man and his journey to recover his past I enjoyed learning a little about the Tamil Indian culture as well.Author s note is included.ARC from publisher. A remarkable story My emotions were thrown all over the place while reading this book I found it to be a very interesting story where I learned a lot about Indian culture and traditions, however I am saddened to think that this is actually based on a true story I felt so much hope throughout the book hope that things would turn out in the end The entire premise of the story is such a tragic and upsetting situation that I had to take mini breaks while reading to clear my mind I found I did lose a little interest near the middle of the book while Taj was away at school, however, this was just a small section and my interest picked back up quickly. This story is a remarkable one and based on true events It follows the life of Chellamuthu, an Indian boy who s life changes in an instant when kidnapped at the age of 7, sent to an orphanage and sold to a couple in America who were told the boy was an orphan The boy s adoptive parents eventually find out he has a family back in India once Chellamuthu can speak enough English to tell them months later, but their attempts to track down his family prove futile They rename Chellamuthu Taj and they couldn t have been nurturing or supportive as they raise their bright and determined boy Taj begins his journey to healing and self discovery early in life and it plays out than 10 years His fortitude is no prominent than in his never waning resolve to go back to India and find his family, even as memories continue to fade I really enjoyed learning about the traditions and customs of the Indian culture that author Camron Wright scatters through the book and also the positive effects of others kindness on Taj s life which were inspirational and so well written The lesson learned Don t Give Up.This story grabbed me from the start and I was sad when the book ended A well deserved 5 stars in my opinion and deserves a place on a short list. Erode, India, 1978 Mischievous, disheveled, seven year old Chellamuthu is living in abject poverty with his family The Gounder family lives in a house built of poles, mud and thatch Chellamuthu is a spirited child who is always getting into trouble and mixing with the wrong crowd While his mother lovingly encourages him to be honest, his quick tempered father teaches him a lesson Using a hot poker, he burns the tops of his son s feet.Told to wait outside a building by his father, Chellamuthu is lured to a van with a promise of mangoes He is snatched, thrown into a van which already contains babies, toddlers , a very sick little girl and is whisked away to The Lincoln Home For Homeless Children Insisting that he has a family and is not an orphan is of no consequence He is told that his father has sold him Eli Manickam, the Commissioner of Children s Services, is convinced that he is providing a valuable service by removing children from squalid living conditions and giving them food, warm clothing and clean living conditions while they await adoption Chellamuthu s claim of having a family falls on deaf ears.Adopted by a loving couple in America, Fred and Linda Rowland, Chellamuthu now Taj becomes acclimated to his new parents, siblings and American way of life.Mastering English, he convinces his parents that he has a family in India and was kidnapped All attempts to find his family are in vain No help is provided by the orphanage staff Taj s journey to find out who he is kicks into high gear while studying abroad in London The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright recounts Taj Rowland s relentless quest to find his India family Taj s memories have long been repressed He seems to be looking for a needle in a haystack While he looks from America, unbeknowst to him, his Indian family has searched for him Camron Wright has delivered a frustrating, heartwrenching true journey to discover Taj s ancestry An excellent, thought provoking book.Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review The Orphan Keeper. I finally finished No full review because this was something I had to read for school, but basically The writing style SUCKS She was adorable than a kindergarten costume party What even The pacing was also horrible I mean, it s fine when the chapters are marked with 10 years later or something but like One minute Priya and Taj had just met and then it s suddenly 2 YEARS LATER SO LONG AND BORING Like I get that you want to tell the whole story but omg it draggggggged The story was very powerful but I was honestly so bored and so done.This is why I don t read historical fiction This story was similar to another nonfiction book I ve recently read That book was called, A Long Way Home It was hard not to compare the stories The first one was well written and I liked the people and how they were portrayed I was completely pulled in to that story.However, this book was not that,.but I still liked this The ending is what I anticipated the most I think I needed Taj s younger self to be developed I was told what happened but I wasn t feeling it So here he had distance and anger towards his new family, which also kept me at a distance I wasn t pulled in There were some dark shadows that begged for light But still 3 stars. Well, I cried Can t I read a book without crying It was a good cry at the end though Chellamuthu Taj Khyber Rowland was kidnapped as a child in India, taken to the Lincoln Home for Homeless Children and sold to people in America The story starts out telling of Chellamuthu s life in India The life he led with his family, the daily things he did, stealing and what not He had a brother and a very kind mother, a father that was a drinker He had friends But one day when he was out with his father, he was taken He ended up in the orphanage and we get to hear this story while he was there He did escape once but came back with medicine for a sick child and I thought that was so brave of him He made friends with other children in the orphanage and was so very sad to leave everyone and knowing he had a family out there Chellamuthu was adopted purchased by a loving family that had no idea the wasn t really an orphan until he was a little older He had to learn to speak English and everything really Linda and Fred Rowland were wonderful parents and did everything they could for all of their children In the author s note at the end, he tells some things that had to get edited out of the book and it was interesting to learn those things as well Chellamuthu s name was changed to Taj Khyber Rowland He did really good in school and things with his mom s help He was in wrestling and when he told his mom that he wanted to send the picture to his family in India, they realized he wasn t an orphan It s really sad When Taj gets older he meets a guy named Daniel who has a sister who would be Taj s future wife Her name is Priya and it gave me chills because her father had some things to do with Taj s life at the orphanage They eventually made their way back to India They were married and made a home there Taj did get his happy ending He found his parents and brother again This is where I cried because, come on Eventually, Linda and Fred came to India to meet Taj s real mom and it was so bittersweet Her name is Arayi by the way I really liked this book than I thought I would It s a great story learning about what children are going through to this day I think the author, Camron Wright did a great job in telling Taj s story You can read about the story at www.TheOrphanKeeper.com I would like to thank Smith Publicity for a print copy of this book in exchange for my honest review MY BLOG Melissa Martin s Reading List Based On A True StorySeven Year Old Chellamuthu S Life Is Forever Changed When He Is Kidnapped From His Village In India, Sold To A Christian Orphanage, And Then Adopted By An Unsuspecting Couple In The United States It Takes Months Before The Boy Can Speak Enough English To Tell His Parents That He Already Has A Family Back In India Horrified, They Try Their Best To Track Down His Indian Family, But All Avenues Lead To Dead EndsMeanwhile, They Simply Love Him, Change His Name To Taj, Enroll Him In School, Make Him Part Of Their Family And His Story Might Have Ended There Had It Not Been For The Pestering Questions In His Head Who Am I Why Was I Taken How Do I Get Home More Than A Decade Later, Taj Meets Priya, A Girl From Southern India With Surprising Ties To His Past Is She The Key To Unveil The Secrets Of His Childhood Or Is It Too Late And If He Does Make It Back To India, How Will He Find His Family With So Few Clues