Saturday, January 30, 2016

"The Bean Trees" by Barbara Kingsolver

This is the 3rd book by Barbara Kingsolver that I have read, and I have enjoyed them all. This one is a lot shorter than the others I have read so far. I really enjoyed the writing style, I felt I was there observing everything and hearing the characters voices and accents rather than just reading about them. The story follows Missy who buys a dodgy old car and sets out to drive until it breaks down then start a new life there, where ever that might be. It's like escaping from this small town in Kentucky is the only way to prevent becoming just another pregnant teenager with nothing much exciting to look forward to. She changes her name and becomes Taylor, and almost ironically given she's running away from the idea of becoming pregnant, she is given an Indian child at a roadhouse along the way. It seems a bit far fetched at this point but later it becomes apparent she is helping to rescue the child from an abusive environment. Her car ends up needing new tyres in Arizona which she can't afford, and while stopping to earn enough money to replace them she ends up starting a new life, with new friends and 'Turtle' her little Indian child. The second half of the book focuses on the relationships she forms with her new friends and neighbours, issues with bringing up Turtle without being her legal parent or guardian, and touches on illegal immigration issues, with one of her new friends sheltering a Mexican couple. While the writing is great and I kept turning the pages, things seemed a bit more superficial/cliched and predicable for the last part of the book. I read somewhere that the author also grew up in Kentucky and moved to Arizona, and the way she describes the country and the people probably draws on her own experiences as they are so realistic (particularly in the first half of the book I thought).

Started reading: 29th January 2016
 Finished: 4th February 2016
My score: 7.5/10

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