Adult, Books

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (Review from the Dreggs)

I remember this book fondly, not so sure about this review though.  Why do I keep doing this? Oh yeah, because I haven’t finished an interesting book since the semester started.

Title: The Bean Trees
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Publisher: HarperTorch
Page #: 312
Genre: Journey or Quest novel, fiction, realistic fiction

I think right off the bat I want to say that I enjoyed this book. The characters were pleasing, the plot wasn’t horrible, and the writing was good (probably why it was one of the summer reading books this year for my AP Literature class). There were a few things that confused me or didn’t seem to fit, but it is a fictional novel so Barbara Kingsolver could make anything happen and it doesn’t have to be completely logical.

The premise of this book is that a young woman, Taylor Greer, is trying to escape her small town and make something of herself so she drives as far as she can before her car breaks down. Along the way she acquired an extremely young indian child who literally lands in her passenger seat. This was one of the first things that confused me slightly. The aunt to this young child, christened Turtle by Taylor, just places her in Taylor’s car and tells her to leave and don’t come back. Taylor obeys, why not question whether it is kidnapping, why not wonder why the aunt is so earnest that the child leave? It just seemed strange that she would accept this fact and drive away. You find out a few pages after this incident why the child needed to leave and the uneasiness of the kidnapping ebbs. The two women on their own end up in Tucson Arizona and become close with a group of women.

From this book I can tell the Kingsolver is all for women finding their own because all of the female characters even the background ones that we only hear a little bit about are strong and independent, even if they don’t know this exactly yet themselves. The story of Taylor and Turtle and how they become a family against all odds is heat warming. Taylor is our narrator and incredibly insightful. Turtle is one of the cutest fictitious children I have ever read about. The other woman are all inspiring and worthy of emulation.

Though I don’t usually like stories that lack action, I tend to grow bored rather quickly, I didn’t find myself bored while reading this. It may have been that there was enough drama in the character’s inner turmoil and they seemed real enough that I didn’t need the extra push of violence and outside conflicts. The witty humor in some of the comments and the heart warming story in how anyone can be considered family if you go through enough together is an old concept told in a new way. I think this is an interesting take on realistic fiction and a great read for both men and women, though it is definitely based around feminism and the idea of independence in women.

I sincerely find some of these amusing.  One of my professors once told me I had the gift of making anything sound enticing.  I think that is something I have developed over the years, though I see spots of it here and there in these old reviews.

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2 thoughts on “The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (Review from the Dreggs)”

  1. I don’t usually like stories that lack action, but this doesn’t sound that bad. And I disagree, things have to make more sense in a fictional novel than the do in real life.

    1. I guess it depends really. Sometimes it bothers me and other times I just let it live in the universe an author created. I think that I get upset when authors break the rules they set for them-self in their universe but if they are consistent with their abnormalities it is less of an issue.

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