BOOK OF THE MONTH
The Orphan Keeper is Bookclubz' Book of the Month.
Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Seven-year-old Chellamuthu 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 ends. Meanwhile, 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? Based on an amazing true story.
THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
The book’s dedication reads: To the lost child in all of us, searching for home. Can you relate to the plight of little lost Chellamuthu? In what ways are you also an orphan? In what ways are you an orphan keeper? Who in the story could be called an orphan keeper? Why?
Eli poses the question, “If a child is kidnapped from hell and carried to heaven, should we condemn the kidnapper?” How would you answer? Was Eli saving children by taking them out of poverty and abuse to give them a chance at a better life, or was he condemning them? Is there any justification for his actions?
It’s not unusual in India for kidnapped children to be intentionally maimed and then forced to beg on the streets in order to collect money for those caring for them. It has been argued that giving to these children encourages the practice. If you walked past such a child, would you give or refrain? Why?