I loved this book. It has been added to my "keep" collection, and I don't keep that many so that's saying something. It is the story of Taylor Greer, a girl from Kentucky, who moves out west to Arizona. On the way she acquires an Indian child as her own. A wonderful read.
I've only read a couple of Barbara's books - and I need to read more. Down-to-earth stories about average folks going through average challenges. Yet the story is a page-turner. I felt like I knew the characters intimately and was rooting for good things to happen to them. Reading Kingsolver is kind of like rafting down a river. The story unfolds slowly, but there's always something interesting around the next corner.
I think I own this book, but I had to request a copy from the library in order to re-read it for a group discussion. I'm glad I did. Taylor and her friends and family are the sort of people I wish I knew in real life, human and flawed but really trying to do the right thing. Now I'm eager to re-read the sequel, Pigs in Heaven.
Unlike any other book I have read. The central character becomes part of your life as you watch her go from adolescence to adulthood in the midst of difficult circumstances and a life lacking financial opportunities. You can't help but admire her determination as her story changes your perspective.
I just finished this book tonight, and I really enjoyed it. My first exposure to Kingsolver was "The Poisonwood Bible," yet this book is significantly different, but both are good. This book isn't as dark as "The Poisonwood Bible," but when putting these books together, you get a good sense of Kingsolver's fascination/interest in how people survive in worlds where nothing is perfect, and in fact, many things are worse than you'd like to imagine. Even when dealing with these themes, "The Bean Trees" remains light enough that you'll have some laughing moments, and you probably won't fall asleep crying about it. The characters cling to you, just like Turtle does, and once they've gotten their hold on you, you might have a hard time shaking them loose. It kind of makes me want to go on an adventure - you'll never know who or what you'll find. Read it.
I loved this book. You really believe in the characters. Even though it's probably set in the 70's, the lives each lives rings true with the "real life". It was such a quick read but left a nice lasting impression. I would definitely recommend this one.
One of my favorite books. The story of a poor girl from Kentucky who has big dreams of going to California. These dreams get curtailed, however, when she comes out of a truck stop to find that someone has left a native american baby on the front seat of her car.
A favorite author's first novel. I've read it so many times, and loved it each time! Colorful characters, difficult real-life situations, and the joy of finding support in other people - even strangers. Highly recommended!
Kentucky-born Taylor Greer sets out for Tucson, Arizona to escape rural poverty and a barefoot & pregnant fate. Along the way, she acquires a 3-yr-old American Indian girl named Turtle. This is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places. Author Anne Rivers Siddons calls this book "tough and tender, gritty and moving." You'll have to judge that for yourself!
AFTER READING POISONWOOD BIBLE, I COULD HARDLY WAIT TO READ ANOTHER OF HER BOOKS. WHILE NOT NEARLY AS IN DEPTH, I LIKED THIS ONE VERY MUCH AS WELL. I AM STARTING ANOTHER ONE OF HERS TONIGHT AND WILL LIST IT AS SOON AS I'M DONE.
I love the way Barbara Kinsgslover writes, it is like poetry, so vivid and beautiful, this was the first book of hers that i have read, and i am looking forward to more. i love the way she brings a scene to life - you can picture it all in your mind, even the smells. Very talented writer.
A friend from my book club recommended I read this book. I wasn't the least be interested but what a surprised. It turned out to be one of the best books I have read in a long time. I won't try and explain the plot. You just have to read it for yourself!
This was my first Barbara Kingsolver book, it won't be my last. I found her descriptions of the desert acurate and the story was so believable. There are many sides to the problem of illegal imigration and Kingsolver highlights the most desperate. The main character shows typical weaknesses and strengths that we all harbor and deals with them in a very realistic manner. I highly recommend this book.
I absolutely loved this book. It was part of a high school summer reading list at an amazing expeditionary learning school. I was interested in the amount of culture this book presented and I genuinely enjoyed Ms. Kingsolver's style of writing. It was about a young adult, but I would certainly say that it reaches a wider range of readers. It's a sweet story worth reading and in my opinion, holding on to.
This quite possibly could be my favorite book of all time. It's original, sweet, loving, makes you absolutely fall in love with the characters. Little Turtle has stayed in my heart for years. Best of all, you get a sequel in Pigs in Heaven, so if you have never read this, you are in for such a treat.
This debut novel follows the gritty, outspoken Taylor Greer, who leaves her native Kentucky to head west. She becomes mother to an abandoned baby and, when her jalopy dies in Tucson, is forced to work in a tire garage and to room with a young, battered divorcee who also has a little girl. With sisterly counsel and personal honesty, the two face their painful lot (told in ponderous detail). The blue-collar setting, described vibrantly, often turns violent, with baby beatings, street brawls, and drug busts. Despite the hurt and rage, themes of love and nurturing emerge.
The novel begins in Pittman, Kentucky, a fictitious place that has the character and type of people you might find in any small Kentucky town. The characters pass through the Cherokee Nation area of Oklahoma. However, most of the action takes place in Tucson, Arizona around the imaginary Roosevelt Park, surrounded by low-rent homes, a porn shop, a Chinese grocery and a tire repair shop.
This is the first of Barbara Kingsolver's books that I have read and I loved it! So different, so touching, and so inspirational in a strange way! This is a story of a young girl who has left home with nothing much but a broken down Volkswagon. Totally on her own, she takes an Indian child from a total stranger and agrees to raise her. It is a story of how those who have nothing can still thrive and survive without anything but the support of friends and a loving mother who can only give support through a pay phone. Bet you will love this book, also! Genny
I loved this book which I read years ago. The protagonist is a spunky young woman, who discovers all sorts of things about herself and the world when she leaves her home in Appalachia. There are descriptions and situations and people who still pop up in my memory after all these years.
An interesting read about a girl's journey leaving home and unexpectedly becoming a mother. She finds a community and shares her adventure through simple-minded young eyes. An easy read that will only take a few days.
Barbra Kingsolver really keeps this, her first novel, alive with her always excellent style and the strong themes that are evident throughout the book. Her weaknesses here are her character developments and a weak plot. Overall this was a very enjoyable read and it kept me entertained to the point of laughing out loud & waking my husband many times while reading it.
The book starts out with a very catching tale of a girl named Taylor preparing to go out on her own right out of high school with very little money . After that the author keeps it interesting by combining the story of Lou Ann's character with that of Taylor so that eventually their paths cross. Kingsolver throws many things into the story that both Lou Ann and Taylor have to deal with such as an abandoned baby, a one-legged rodeo husband, and illegal refugees that affect everyone's lives. This story keeps you entertained and is a joy to read.
The author uses a strong family theme throughout the story and adapts it to fit with the characters. The theme of family isn't the normal one. It shows that you don't have to be related to people to love and care for them and consider them your family. She uses two examples of this type of family in her story. First we learn of Lou Ann, Taylor, Duwayne Ray, and Turtle. They all love and depend on one another and consider themselves to be a family. We also learn of Mattie, Esperanza, Estevan, and all the other illegal refugees who live in Mattie's apartment. They care for one another and take care of each other just like a normal family would. Kingsolver uses imagination and style to keep the story entertaining and upbeat. She keeps it flowing and makes it easy to read. She uses realistic dialect to make the characters come alive and to make them seem real. She also uses figurative language like similies and extended metaphors to indirectly help the reader understand what is going on.
Then too, she uses symbolism to represent certain parts of the story that she finds important. She uses the song sparrow to represent Turtle and to show what developments she might make throughout the course of the book. Her style is her best feature through the course of this book. Most of the main characters go through major changes throughout the course of the story. Lou Ann changes from having very low self-esteem to being more confident and believing in herself. Taylor, a major character in this book, develops a sense of independence and feelings of love for her new family. Turtle is maybe the most dynamic character in the story. She goes from being completely untalkative to being like a normal little kid. Over all the characters seemed real and true. This story was entertaining and interesting.
Barbara Kingsolver is near the top of my great authors list. This one has a light heartedness that is welcome after the "Poisonwood Bible".
Taylor has completed her high school graduation, not gotten pregnant and, is off on the road to a different life. She encounters many unexpected things on her way to the American West, not the least of which is a mute three year old child, Turtle.
The characters both major and minor are engaging, and the plot moves along seamlessly--not unexpected in a Kingsolver novel. A great diversion!
I loved this book. So much so that I'm now onto the second book of this story, Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver. This author has a way of writing that can make you go from laughing hysterically to crying your heart out on the same page. The main character, Taylor, is inspiring. Here's this young girl, not much more than a girl herself, who's had an Indian toddler dumped in her lap. She embraces this child and accepts her for all that she is..... with her problems and all. I've just started reading the second book and it's looking like some person is going to attempt to take Turtle (the Indian child) away from Taylor, just because Taylor is not also Indian. I'm panicking already! NoOoOoO....... you can't take Turtle from her momma!!! It would destroy both of them. Ooops.... sorry........ but I gotta get back to my book!!! :o)
"The Bean Trees" is about the serious business of life (the true meaning of love and friendship, the definition of family and other significant issues)and yet it manages, thanks to the humane and compassionate touch of Barbara Kingsolver's "pen," to be light and lovely and funny and sweet and sad and redemptive. What's the point of being subtle: I loved this book.
Ever just wanted to pick up and leave? That is what sets this story in motion. The main character heads out in her beat up old VW Bug and literally drives until her car dies. The story that follows is exciting, difficult, wonderful, and complicated.. just as life should be. Great read!
Taylor Greer, from rural Kentucky, buys a 1955 Volkswagen and drives west. Along the way, she picks up an abandoned 3-year-old Native American girl named Turtle, and by the time she pulls up at the Jesus Is Lord Used Tire Auto Repair Shop, Taylor is well on her way towards establishing an adventurous new life in the desert land of the Southwest.
Characters you won't forget. This story will stay with you a long time. Kept me glued to the chair to read this book. Very enjoyable & love Kingsolver's writing. Can't wait to read the sequel, Pigs In Heaven. You will fall in love with Turtle & her adotive mother.
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 , Arizonia , she has aquired 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 of putting down roots. Hers is a story about love friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places
Meet Taylor Greer. Clear-eyed and spirited, she grew up poor in rural Kentucky with two goals: to avoid pregnancy and to get away. She succeeds on both counts when she buys a '55 VW and heads west. But by the time she pulls up on the outskirts of Tucson, AZ at an auto repair shop called Jesus is the Lord Used Ties that also happens to be a sanctuary for Central American refugees, she's "inherited" a 3 year old American Indian girl named Turtle. What follows - as Taylor meets the human condition head on - is at the heart of this memorable novel about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places. Kingsolver is one of my very favorite authors for richness of characters and insightful story. I have read most all of her novels - Prodigal Summer, my alltime favorite - I highly recommend this one as well. Enjoy!
Marietta (Missy) left Kentucky in her '55 Volkswagen bug for anywhere. In route she acquired a homeless baby (Turtle.) On two flat tires they made it to 1-800-THE LORD in Tucson. As she said, her whole life "had been running on dumb luck and she hadn't even noticed."
Meet Taylor Greer. Clear eyed & spiritual, she grew up poor in rual Kentucky with 2 goals: to avaid pregnancy and get away. She succeeds on both counts when she buys a '55 Volkswagon and heads west. Very good reading. Enjoyable.