The easiest say to review for me is by making a list of what I enjoyed of the novel and of what I had a problem with. Here it goes...
What I liked:
The symbolism of Vivian's Claddagh.
How our perception of her grandmother changes throughout the novel.
Vivian's feeling of alienation, of never feeling a real part of a family. That's the only moment she felt real to me.
What I didn't like:
The characters' lack of depth and how stereotyped they were.
The much too obvious parallelisms between the main characters's lives.
The fact that a nose ring was the symbol of Molly's anger and of the wall she put up so she could not be hurt again. It also bothered me that by taking it off she is seen as a more "normal" person and that she is on her way to improvement.
Traumatic events are thrown into the characters' lives, but they don't seem to react. I understand the numbness described in several instances throughout the novel, but it was not properly portrayed. The emotional development is almost non-existent and felt rushed in the end.
What I was most interested about, the orphan trains, was way too short.