“The Orphan Keeper,” by Camron Wright is based on the true story of Taj Rowland (previously named Chellamuthu Gounder), who was kidnapped from his family at age 7, and adopted in America. It’s a novel (not a biography) because some fictional perspectives are added for characters who couldn’t/didn’t speak for themselves. These other perspectives serve purpose to hopefully describe why the conflicts happened, because really… what on earth? Our world is so messed up.
Sure, you can take a kid from abuse and poverty and give him to 1st world middle class with education and opportunity, then call yourself a hero. But what if the kid was taken from his family against his will? “The Orphan Keeper” questions the strength of family and how far one can go to find it. There’s also an interesting theme of God’s vindictive or merciful hand in our lives.
I can’t say I have any issues with the plot (because it’s a true story) even though I first thought it strange that he forgot everything from his past. Then again, I lived my first 7 years in California. Did I remember anything about it ten years later? Not really.
The setting is well done, especially since the world has changed since the 20 years ago when this all took place. Mr. Wright did his research and gives great details on memorable parts. The characterization feels a little rushed, especially since these are real people – I expected more. It’s the plot that really sets this book apart, so for that (and the careful presentation of it), I give it ****4 stars****