ORPHAN #8 by Kim Van Alkemade
When the book opens Rachel (orphan 8) is a tantrum throwing 4 year-old. At the end she is a middle- aged spinster disappointed with life. Rachel has the misfortune soon after her mother’s death to be the “material” for a woman doctor seeking to make her way in a man’s world. The repercussions of the experiment color all of Rachel’s life. Told in alternating chapters switching between the young Rachel and the middle-aged Rachel, we understand why she is disappointed. We also know that she has had many opportunities most orphans never have and Rachel has failed to appreciate.
Rachel is creatively and skillfully written, unfortunately, we see all the remaining characters through the prism of Rachel. These other characters remain flat throughout and the book ends too early. I would have liked another chapter or two to see the “redeemed” Rachel if, indeed, she is.
Book group will find a number of topics – orphanages, betrayal, family loyalty, medical care/experimentation, women’s opportunities, assisted suicide, lesbianism, charity, revenge – to discuss.
3 of 5 stars