The Orphan Keeper: A Fantastic Apres Ski Read.

orphankeeper_cover_largeAs I approach my 73rd birthday and commence my 63rd consecutive season, I want to declare that from the time I was 10, skiing has been a source of joy.

Not too long ago I was good from when the lifts opened until last ride. In recent years, I’ve been starting a bit later (except on powder days) and leaving the hill earlier, especially when the light begins to flatten. I’ll go back to the lodge or drive home, clean up, pour a glass of something pleasant and, more often than not, open a book.

Recently, I came across a terrific read that deserves to be better known, and probably will be. The Orphan Keeper was written by Camron Wright, an award-winning novelist based in Utah. The book is based on the astonishing true story of Taj Rowland. It begins in India where the seven year old boy is kidnapped and sold to an orphanage. He’s then adopted by unsuspecting parents in the United States who have no idea their new son isn’t really an orphan. By the time the boy can speak enough English to tell them he already has a family, it’s too late. They write letters. They make phone calls, but all roads lead to dead ends.

Taj grows up in the United States, goes to school, plays sports (even learns to ski), and his story may have ended there—except his past isn’t content to let him be. I won’t spoil how the story develops, other than to warn you that after reading a few chapters après ski, you’ll want to read through dinner, and keep on reading. This is a well-crafted page-turner that had me shocked, laughing, at times dabbing my eyes, and eager to learn more. It is terrific story made even better by the fact that is based on Taj Rowland’s real experience.

Years ago one of my teachers gave this advice for summer vacation: Take one good hike. Read one good book. Make one good friend.

My advice for this winter season: Take many great runs. Enjoy your friends. Read The Orphan Keeper.


  1. Philip m Rajotte says:

    Good on ya Jon and watch out for those snow snakes.
    Regards from the north….73 year old Canadian powder hound.

    Have you skied Teluride, if so, I would appreciate some feed back.

    • Jon Weisberg says:

      Thanks Philip. My one and only Ta-Hell-You-Ride experience was in the late-80s. I understand it’s a different place these days. That said, the side of the mountain facing the town was steep and exciting. Spiral Staircase — one of the trails — was memorable. Where in Canada are you located?

  2. Jackie Bonillo says:

    House Rules by Judy Picoult kept me awake until I finished it. I could not put it down even to sleep.
    I will read The Orphan Keeper. Thanks.

    • Jon Weisberg says:

      Jackie, I’ve never read Judy Picoult. Will give her a try. I just finished another one that kept me beyond bedtime. It’s “White Fire,” a mystery/thriller by Preston & Child. The novel is set in Aspen (they call it Roaring Fork). Has a Sherlock Holmes sub-story. Thanks for your note.

  3. Kitty DiNardo says:

    As a Sr., & a ski instructor, I’m crushed that due to auto accident in June, I cannot ski this season. Still hoping for Spring skiing, but everything depends on bone density & hip strengthening, so good books to read, after PT & gym, are a Godsend.
    Get your bone density checked. It’s one thing you can improve no matter what age. Check out Strong Women, Strong Bones by Miriam Nelson.

    • Jon Weisberg says:

      Best wishes for a full recovery, Kitty. Thanks for the book suggestion. Please let us know when you’re back on snow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *