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Orphan #8: A Novel
Orphan #8: A Novel
Orphan #8: A Novel
Аудиокнига11 часов

Orphan #8: A Novel

Написано Kim van Alkemade

Озвучено Andi Arndt и Ginny Auer

Рейтинг: 3.5 из 5 звезд

3.5/5

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Об этой аудиокниге

A stunning debut novel in the vein of Sarah Waters’ historical fiction and inspired by true events, it 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.

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.

ЯзыкEnglish
ИздательHarperAudio
Дата выпуска4 авг. 2015 г.
ISBN9780062395436
Автор

Kim van Alkemade

Kim van Alkemade is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical novels Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl. Born in Manhattan, she grew up in New Jersey and went to college in Wisconsin, where she earned a Ph.D. in English. For many years, she was a professor at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. Now a full-time writer, she resides in Saratoga Springs, New York, with her partner, their two rescue dogs, and three feisty backyard chickens. 

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Отзывы о Orphan #8

Рейтинг: 3.2989690721649483 из 5 звезд
3.5/5

194 оценки36 отзывов

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  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    Fascinating topic, however the author tried to cram too many issues into this story. Reading this felt like being in a classroom and not in a good way. The writing was stilted and the author spent much of the time "telling" rather than "showing". I did not become engrossed in the story at all.
    That being said, there are many great points here for book club to jump on, discussions could be quite lively!
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    I appreciated the switching of time periods in order to gain a full understanding of the characters within this story. I find myself awed by the events of this story and further intrigued by the experiments conducted on young orphans for medical advancement.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    Although I liked the premise of this novel, it didn't satisfy me as much as I had hoped. I loved the moral dilemma that Rachel was facing and I really enjoyed reading about the life Rachel had lived before, during, and after the experimentation that led to this culminating point in the novel. The complexity of the situation was aptly described and it made me rethink my own views on the situation. Revenge always seems simple when you first encounter a situation where you have been wronged, and it's not often that one gets the chance to really delve deeper into the emotions and morals associated with revenge. This novel gives you that chance. That being said, the ending was too bittersweet for my taste. I felt like I wanted more for Rachel. The author had done such a good job portraying her character that I felt a kinship towards her and wanted everything to be absolutely perfect. And even though life doesn't work out that way, I wanted it to. In a way, that's a sign that this novel is fantastic in its ability to capture the reader's attention and draw the sympathy of the reader for the protagonist. If you are looking for a good historical fiction, I would definitely recommend this one!
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Very well written novel based on historical facts.Over the course of about 80 plus years the Hebrew Orphanage in NYC housedand took care of 1,000 children at any given time. They were very wellprovided for in material ways. However,their methods for treating sick children seem quite cold by today'sstandards. In 1919 x-rays and radium were all the rage in medical circles.A very,very rare for the time female doctor decided to make a name for herselfby using x-rays to shrink tonsils to prove it was a better treatment than surgery.She used healthy children in this experiment. One was exposed the most and thatwas Orphan #8. This experiment left most with no hair,brows or lashes for life.This book is the story of Rachel's life,Orphan #8's,the child exposed to the most radiation.The book moves fast back and forth in time opening with Rachel a 40 year old nurse at theHebrew Old Folk's home. There she encounters as a patient the doctor who conducted thex-ray "treatments" on her. This encounter opens up the memory banks and Rachel does researchand finds out that she was not sick at all but used for no good end.I found the historical details in the afterword to be as interesting as the novel. There is a personal,family connection to the Orphanage with the author so there were personal photographsof real people some of the characters were based on.
  • Рейтинг: 2 из 5 звезд
    2/5
    The dark story of a young girl and her brother who were placed in an orphanage after their father kills their mother and then disappears. The girl is used for experiments along with other children and as a result loses her hair. She was never grateful for the small things and even stole money from her only friend and ran away. She was filled with self pity most of her life and never counted her blessings. Did not care for the book and it was a very slow read.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Hurt and fear, are not things we want children to experience. We don't expect healthy children to be test subjects in medical experiments that can physically harm them for life. Kim Van Alkemade's ORPHAN 8, an historical novel, is based on New York City's Home for Hebrew Infants and the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, where in the mid-1900's into the 1920's children were used as test subjects for a number of medically questionable studies. Radiation exposure left some children bald for life and probably gave them serious physical side effects that may have caused other issues in later life.The author's Great-Grandmother worked at the Asylum and raised (or at least saw) her two sons while she was employed at the facility. Van Alkemade was fascinated by the stories. When looking through the Home's records she found a reference to buying wigs for children who'd had x-rays, and thus it became the basis for her novel.The novel is fascinating for it's writing and the journey the reader takes with Rachel, the main character who goes from terrified child to adult. From little Rachel at home, to a scared child in an overwhelming institutional environment, to an adult suddenly faced with the woman who experimented upon her body.Now the tables have turned and Rachel is the medical professional. She has the opportunity as the nurse assigned to a case to see the physician who scarred her for life - what will Rachel do to the elderly woman now in her care? The ethics at play are almost unbearable - the psychological nuance between the two women, one elderly, quite ill and unrepentant, the other still emotionally fragile from her childhood.It's a book that is as intriguing as it is readable. Well written and fascinating, it draws the reader into the shadows of Rachel's thirst for revenge and her opportunity for forgiveness. How she chooses, and what she chooses make for a captivating novel. I was pleased to review this novel thanks to Harper Collins for the free book!
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    What did I think?I wanted to give this book more stars but I had a few issues. While someone else said, the book was well researched and the story was told well enough, I just got bored a bit somewhere around the middle. I believe the characters were developed just enough although there was room for improvement there too.I have a problem with "her". This big secret through the whole book. At one point I wondered who "she" was and thought I knew but was wrong according to the story only to find out that a small paragraph had me all screwed up. And there were a few typos.I will say the first 25% of this book was so hard for me to read probably because it was written the best; I was appalled.I will recommend.Thanks to LibraryThing and William Morrow for giving me a chance to read and review it.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    This is a heartbreaking, beautifully written book centered around a woman named Rachel, a nurse at Manhattan's Old Hebrews Home. When a new patient is brought in, Rachel recognizes her as the doctor who performed medical experiments on her in an orphanage when she was a child. Faced with this knowledge, Rachel looks back over her life, reckoning with the decisions she made and the decisions that were made for her.
  • Рейтинг: 1 из 5 звезд
    1/5
    I had the story figured out at 25% mark. Unfulfilling characters and plot.
  • Рейтинг: 5 из 5 звезд
    5/5
    I received this book through Librarythings Early Review and so glad that I did. While this book is fiction, it is based on fact. This becomes horrifying as Rachel Rabinowitz, at age 4, is placed in the Hebrew Infant Home when her mother dies and her father disappears. While the orphans' physical needs are taken care of, some of them are also used in experiments. This doesn't take place in Nazi Germany but in New York City on the early 1920's. There are multiple layers to this story which moves between the early years of Rachel's life and 1954 where she works on the hospice floor of the Old Hebrews Home. I have 7 books that I needed to be reading to return to my library. However, when I picked up this book that had just arrived from the publisher, William Morrow, I never put it down until I finished it late last night. Definitely recommended and can't wait for Kim van Alkemade's next book!
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Interesting story based on the Hebrew Orphans Asylum of New York set in the 1950's. The story is based on the jewish ran home for orphans where her grandfather and uncle were raised and her Great Grandmother Fannie Berger ran the Reception area of the home. Fictional characters Rachel & Sam Rabinowicz, orphaned by the murder of their mother and abandonment of their father are sent to the Hebrew Orphans home and separated where Rachel is sent to Infant home as she was under 6 years old. At the orphans home Rachel was subjected to experimental X-ray treatments which left her with a life long case of alopecia marking her for life. Once Rachel is old enough to join Sam, they are still separated within the community of over 1000 children and Sam's promise to protect Rachel becomes more difficult as they mature to teenagers and an incident at the Purmir Dance causes Sam to run away. Rachel eventually discovers where Sam has gone and thinking he has found their father, steals money and flees the orphan home to join him in Colorado. As her expectations of a happy reunion with her father and family unravel, once again Rachel finds herself alone and fending for herself. Meeting up with the Cohen/Abram Family she finds a new purpose and begins her medical career as a nursing aide with help of Dr Abrams. Fast forward to her return to New York to find Naomi and make amends for taking her savings, she ends up working at the Hebrew Nursing Home where a Doctor Mildred Soloman, the docotor who administered the x-rays on her so many years before becomes her patient. Memories flash back and she learns that the treatments administered to her were not for a disease she had but as experimental, coming to terms with her current medical issues and the woman who was responsible for her life long health issues, she is faced with seeking revenge or forgiving the woman who shows no remorse for what she has done. Very interesting story, the back of the book gives details on the author's family and how she was inspired to write this story.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    This is an interesting, flawed work of historical fiction about an orphaned girl who is subjected to unethical medical experiments in the 1920s while living in a New York City orphanage. As an adult, she finds her herself the nurse of the very doctor who experimented on her. It's an interesting premise, ready-made for book discussions, yet the moral dilemma posed by the situation isn't really the center of the book - indeed, the book has so many different threads that there doesn't seem to be any center at all. The prose and especially the dialog is often clumsy and unconvincing. It was a fast read, and I liked the main character, Rachel. I'm guessing that the author will polish her craft a bit and give us a better book on her second round.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    I chose to request this book from Librarything's early reviewers because I had read The Orphan Train and I was interested to read more along these lines. There are multiple story lines in this book that help keep the story moving along quickly. For me it is important to learn new things while reading and this book did not disappoint there. Kim touches on several controversial subjects that if you are open minded keep you wondering what you might do in the same situation. Orphan #8 is a thought provoking book that will make for a great book club discussion.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    I received this book from Early Reviewers and was drawn to it because it was based on true events. The author used historical data from her family and historical data from the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York City to weave a completely believable story based on fictitious orphans, Rachel Rabinowitz, and her brother, Sam, who are orphaned in 1919 when their mother dies and their father runs off.Chapters alternate between Rachel as the child in the orphanage and Rachel as an adult nurse in the Old Hebrew Home. Rachel as the child was experimented on (based on actual events) with X-rays when she entered the home, and as a result of the experiments loses her hair and has to deal with this condition her whole life. Rachel as the adult is faced one day with a new patient at the Old Hebrew Home. This patient just happens to be the woman doctor who administered the experiments to her as a child. Meeting this doctor causes Rachel to relive her past and the ordeals she suffered and to grapple with the power one person can wield over another, and to what extent one should go to seek retribution for circumstances that can't be changed. Engaging story line and thoroughly recorded details bring life in an orphanage at the turn of the century to light and all add up to a satisfying read.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Love reading fiction and finding out something I NEVER KNEW! The "P.S." section of Kim van Alkemade's book was amazing... so glad to read where her inspiration for this book came from -
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    A lovely-but-sorta-sad story. It was really interesting to get a look into parts of history that are usually ignored or forgotten about -- in this case, especially, medical experiments performed on children by "good" people in the name of progress.

    Rachel is a very sympathetic main characters, with all she had to suffer through. And her struggle about whether or not she should seek revenge on the woman who wronged her as a child rang very true.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    It was a hard journey both for the characters and the reader. Gripping and involving, I felt sad for the life that Rachel led. The last chapter was uplifting. The reading was really good, giving a sense of the characters, well-paced and clear.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    Really enjoyed this book. We follow Rachel a 4 year old orphan placed in the Hebrew Infant home . She grows up there becoming orphan #8 in X-ray experiments where she looses her hair and it never comes back. She is looked after at a distance by her brother and a few good people like Niomi.We follow Rachel as an adult where she is a nurse in the Old Hebrew Home and winds up with Dr Soloman as a patient, the woman who had experimented on her. The novel brings young Rachel up to date with adult Rachel as she discovers and learns to deal with her cancer diagnosis.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    I had this book for a while and just now got around to picking it up and reading it. The beginning started out really good. It grabbed my interest and I was ready for more. To be honest when I read the summary for this book I thought that the experiments that Dr. Mildred Solomon was conducting would be like Dr. Arthur Arden from American Horror Story season two, Asylum. Thank goodness it was not that horrible but still I can't imagine having to endure the things that Rachel did at such a young age. The even greater challenge was how Rachel reacted when the tables were turned with Dr. Solomon as her patient. The flash back moments where good and I thought the transfer from the past to the present was smooth. They were brought up at the right moments within the story. However the story itself grew somewhat stale for me about midway and I stayed middle of the road the rest of the way until the end. Yet, reading about the true events that inspired this book and seeing the pictures at the back of this book was very sad and had me intrigued.
  • Рейтинг: 3 из 5 звезд
    3/5
    Based on a real life story, this tale ping pongs back and forth from 1919 - 1950's. Tragically, four year old Rachel and her six year old brother became orphans when their mother discovered their father's indiscretion and impregnation of a young , unmarried co-worker. As their mother confronted the father, a knife and anger brought about an accidental slit which led to the death of their mother.The children are taken to the Hebrew Orphans Asylum in New York City. Deloused and hair cut dramatically, Rachel's experience worsens as a new female radiologist Dr. Mildred Solomon is bent on becoming at the top of the ranks in breakthrough techniques using a newly discovered mode called radiology. Originally, unknown consequences occurred as a result of repeated exposure; the sin is that Dr. Solomon continued these radiological experiments long after children lost their hair and experienced compromised immune systems. Rachel was told to be a good girl and to allow Dr. Solomon to strap her to a table while exposing her to large doses of radiation.Fast forward to 1954 when Rachel has survived, bald, and cancer ridden, and since leaving the home, became a nurse. Fate placed Dr. Solomon, now elderly and filled with cancer, in the hands of Rachel Rabinowitz. When confronted with the repercussions of Dr. Solomon's callous treatment, there is no apology. Insisting on calling Rachel Orphan #8, Dr. Solomon notes that she too has cancer and Rachel should feel sorry for her.Now that Dr. Solomon is in Rachel's care, she turns the table and slowly, intentionally deprives her patient of the necessary Morphine needed.This would have been an excellent book except that the sub plots and stories seemed to have so very little to do with the primary story. The book started well, but mid way meandered into boredom. I kept putting the book down with the intention of finding another. Yet, I was drawn to finish the story of Rachel and Dr. Solomon.I wish this debut novel would have been tightly written. Following the path of Rachel and her sexuality wasn't germane to the story. If there was a connection, the author failed to clearly make a case for it.Two and 1/2 stars.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    A great historical fiction read, this really drew me in with the change of narrative through time. An orphan that was used in scientific experiments is now confronted with the offending doctor, who is under her care in a hospice ward. The journey of acknowledging and trying to heal the young girl inside who was abused, is an interesting look on the things that haunt us, while giving a historical perspective.
  • Рейтинг: 2 из 5 звезд
    2/5
    Orphan Number Eight I stopped at page 100. I loved how it started - her childhood, how she ended up at the orphanage, and her experience there, but then it changed directions and I lost interest. Once the story changed to her adulthood and her nursing career, it got boring. Maybe it got interesting again and I missed it. I don't know. What I do know is that this wasn't what I was expecting and it left me feeling disappointed.
  • Рейтинг: 4 из 5 звезд
    4/5
    The disturbing story of a Jewish-American orphan told in alternating timelines, one during her childhood (post-WWI) and the other in the 1950s, when she comes face-to-face with the doctor who did radiation experiments on her in the orphanage. After her father kills her mother and disappears, 4-year old Rachel and her brother Sam are institutionalized and separated, with Rachel being sent to the Hebrew Infants Home in Manhattan. While in isolation as a newcomer she is spotted by a young doctor yearning to make her way in a man's profession, and Rachel becomes the subject of several experiments, one of which leaves her body hairless for the rest of her life and puts her at risk for early cancer. As a nurse years later, she finds herself with a new patient: the very same doctor, now elderly and dying. Rachel has always believed the radiation was a treatment for an illness she had, but comments the doctor makes sends her to the medical library, where she learns the truth and plots revenge. Intertwined in both timelines is Rachel's' lesbianism, which is an interesting story in itself but unnecessary for the main drama and, because of that, feels forced. The most difficult aspect of this book for the reader is that the experiments on the children are based on actual events, and it was sickening to read. The main character doesn't shy from the obvious comparison to Nazi medical "research", while the doctor is given a chance to state her case, which is partially to see the experiments as the children's way of repaying society for caring for them. Jeez....tell that to a terrified 4-year old who has lost all she held dear in life.Well told, but perhaps not for the squeamish.