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January 19, 2020

The Bean Trees



The Bean Trees (Greer Family #1) by Barbara Kingsolver
Fiction
1988 Harper Perennial
Finished on January 16, 2020
Rating: 5/5 (Outstanding!)

Publisher's Blurb:

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 can't find a journal entry for my first reading of The Bean Trees (which I'm pretty sure I read in 1994), but I do know that it was my introduction to the works of Barbara Kingsolver. I recently read her latest release (Unsheltered) and decided it was time to give her debut novel a second reading. Always a bit nervous to revisit a beloved book from years past, I went into this reread a little apprehensive, wondering if it would live up to my memory of being a great book. I shouldn't have worried. I was immediately swept up by the beautiful writing, marvelous dialogue, and well-developed characters, many of whom I remembered as vividly as if I had read the book a few weeks ago. What I had forgotten was Kingsolver's sassy wit, which had me chortling as I read. I fell in love all over again with Taylor and Turtle and am now eager to reread Pigs in Heaven, the sequel to this delightful story.

12 comments:

  1. It's been years since I read this but I do remember loving it.

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    1. Kathy, I was so happy (and relieved!) that it was as good as I remembered.

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  2. I should try this one again sometime. I think I read it about 15-18 years ago. Glad u liked it so much.

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    1. Diane, it stood the test of time. If anything, it's pretty timely with regard to the subject of immigration.

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  3. I think I read this one back in the '90's as well, probably because you talked about it or someone else from that original group of online friends we had. I can't remember if I read Pigs in Heaven, but I might have. Glad it stood the test of time. I do understand about being a little leery of reading old favorites, but most of the time I love them all over again.

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    1. Kay, I read it before our online group formed, but it may have come up in conversation, especially if I had recently read The Poisonwood Bible. I'm really excited to reread Pigs in Heaven and continue with Taylor and Turtle's story, of which I have no recollection! Thinking about a recent reread that didn't stand the test of time and I can tell you I was so disappointed that I didn't love Atonement (McEwan) the way I did the first time I read it. It had been my #1 read the year I first read it. Not this time, though.

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  4. :) I remember loving this, too. Enough that I have continued to read Kingsolver over the years as her commitment to the environment has led to nonfiction as well!

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    1. I've read almost every book she's published, Jenclair. I still have Animal, Vegetable, Miracle on my shelf and hope to get to it this year. She is a great storyteller and is not only passionate about our world and environment, but also about those seeking a better way of life in our country. I can't wait to reread Pigs in Heaven!

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  5. I loved this book. And I think it's time to reread it, so thanks for reminding me! And yes, definitely read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I've read it twice!

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    1. Laurel, I can see reading this book every few years, it was that good. The problem with getting motivated to read AVM is that I have it on my Nook. I'm still not a huge fan of ebooks, but maybe I'll take it along on our next road trip. If you've read it twice, it must be worthwhile!

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  6. This is such a classic. I loved it and probably should do a re-read of it one day. The one thing I can't remember is if I read Pigs in Heaven. I've really enjoyed some of her other books but need haven't read any of her more recent books and I should definitely remedy that.

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    1. Iliana, it was such a great re-read! I plan to read Pigs in Heaven next month. My goal is to have at least one re-read each month this year. As far as more recent books, I strongly recommend Flight Behavior.

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