Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

From the Amazon product description: Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

I absolutely loved it! I have seen Barbara Kingsolver's name floating around recently because she just published a new book, Lacuna. Well, I have some catching up to do if all her books are this good because The Bean Trees was her debut novel and it was great. I had to get past the initial disbelief of - "nobody would ever just hand over a beautiful baby girl to a stranger" - but after accepting that (just say "It's fiction!" really loud), the rest was gritty and bittersweet - exactly the style I like. When I googled to find a cover image, I was surprised to see Sparks notes and other study guides. I didn't click on a one because I knew it would just point out all the pieces that I missed - the foreshadowing, the imagery, the themes...ugh, English 101. If I was reading this for a book group discussion, yes, those things would be important to me but for pleasure, all I need to know is that I liked it!

This book has a wealth of strong women fighting for what is right - a childhood free of abuse, immigrants rights, and marriage that is a partnership.

This book is my "B" book for the 2010 A-Z Reading Challenge. Click on the button to see my progress.


bermudaonion said...

I've loved every single Kingsolver book I've read!

Jenny said...

I really enjoyed this one. It is beautifully written and it is so believable while at the same time so eccentric! Kingsolver is one of those authors who do not have a "style" each book is very different. I loved Poisonwood Bible, but others really can't stand it. I plan on reading her new one.

hokgardner said...

I highly recommend "High Tide in Tucson." It's a collection of personal essays, and it's wonderful. I re-read certain essays every once in a while just because they're so good.

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