The Boxcar Children Beginning by Patricia MacLachlan
The Alden children didn’t always live with their grandfather. They used to have parents. The children lived with their parents on a farm. They didn’t know their grandfather at that point and thought their grandfather didn’t like them. Their mother tried to assure them that he would love them. They just hadn’t been around him.
A small family breaks down near the Aldens farm. The Alden family decides to take them in until they can get their car fixed. A lot of people don’t have jobs and are losing their homes. The Aldens keep hearing about hard times, but they don’t want to see them. The family gets their car fixed and the Aldens say they’ll visit, but it’s a long way away.
Mother and Father go out one day, but they don’t come back. The Alden children don’t want to be put into foster care and their grandfather doesn’t sound very nice. They make up their own plans.
What I liked
This is a prequel to all those other Boxcar books. It’s not written by Gertrude, but, of course, a lot of the Boxcar Children books weren’t written by Gertrude. It’s written by Patricia MacLachlan who you may know as the author of Sarah Plain and Tall. I think she did a good job of telling this pre-story of the Aldens. I did like having more insight into the children’s past.
What I didn’t like
This is awfully sad. It’s unfortunate when any child loses a parent, let alone two parents. When you’re a kid, your parents are part of your identity. You can’t really be you without your parents. If you grew up without one or more of your parents, you will know that the absence made you a different person than you would have been had you had two parents. The Aldens aren’t the same kids they were before their parents died. Are they better kids? Is their life better? Is it worse? These questions are really a matter of opinion, but most people would say it would have been better for them had their parents lived.
This is the beginning of many adventures.
If you grew up without one of your parents, for whatever reason, do you feel your life would have been better with two parents?
If you grew up without one of your parents, did you feel like something was missing from your life as a child?