January 19, 2020
The Bean Trees
The Bean Trees (Greer Family #1) by Barbara Kingsolver
1988 Harper Perennial
Finished on January 16, 2020
Rating: 5/5 (Outstanding!)
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.