I was a daughterless mother. I had nowhere to put the things a mother places on her daughter. The nail polish I used to paint our toenails hardened. Our favorite videos gathered dust. Her small apron was in a box in the attic. Her shoes - the sparkly ones, the leopard rain boots, the ballet slippers - stood in a corner.
I was kind of an outsider growing up, and I preferred reading to being with other kids. When I was about seven, I started to write my own books. I never thought of myself as wanting to be a writer-I just was one.
In Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline seamlessly knits together the past and present of two women, one young and one old. Kline reminds us that we never really lose anyone or anything or – perhaps most importantly – ourselves.
My daughter, Grace, was not killed by a gun. She died suddenly at age 5 from a virulent form of strep. As I stood stunned in a church at her memorial, one of the hardest things I heard someone say was, 'I'm going to go home and hug my child a little tighter.' 'Well, good for you,' I thought. 'I'm going to go home and scream.'
We were a family that made our Halloween costumes. Or, more accurately, my mother made them. She took no suggestions or advice. Halloween costumes were her territory. She was the brain behind my brothers winning girl costume, stuffing her own bra with newspapers for him to wear under a cashmere sweater and smearing red lipstick on his lips.