MOTIVATION for READING: This book was on the 2014 list of recommended summer reading for the high school I subbed for in Massachusetts.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: A young girl who yearns to escape her confining small town in Kentucky takes off for grand adventures. The least of which is NOT that she is handed a baby somewhere in Oklahoma on her way to who-knows-where; so she just mosies on down the road with little thought about it whatsoever… Seriously, the more I reflect on her nonchalance about being just handed a baby and her taking off with zero thought or consideration of consequence exasperates me.
For a much more detailed synopsis and thoughtful review, read this by BooksPlease blog.
WHAT’s GOOD: Kingsolver is not without writing talent. She can probably write anything and make it believable. I really did enjoy the main character and many of the good-hearted people she has the fortune to meet on her journey.
What’s NOT so good: Keeping in mind that this is set in the 80’s – and likely the early 80s, it is just odd/difficult to think that the not-so-distant past really IS that far away and yet so relatable. Pay phones, cars that won’t start unless you pop the clutch, walking into a job at a hospital and handling blood on day one. Really?! It was discombobulating.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Kingsolver is also not shy about cleverly ranting about immigration policies and she skillfully grounds the story in the history of the time. The theme was all about creating your own family and being kind.
If I had known that the bean trees were really a reference to Wisteria, I probably would have read it sooner.
RATING: Three slices of pie.
“The night before, she’d listened to the forecast and picked a mop bucket full of hard little marbles off the tomato vines, and this morning she had green-tomato pies baking upstairs. I know this sounds like something you’d no more want to eat than a mud-and-Junebug pie some kid would whip up, but it honestly smelled delicious.”
(This is a fried green tomato pimento cheese pie with a chocolate cream pie chaser.)