BOOK REVIEW: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
Marietta was born in a small town in Kentucky, where girls more often than not drop out of high school because of teen pregnancy. Wanting to avoid such a life, she saves up for an old car, changes her name to Taylor and heads across the country. After a bite at a restaurant in Oklahoma, an Indian woman drops a baby in her car and tells her to take it away. Unsure what to do, Taylor drives with the baby further east until she stops at a hotel. There she finds that the baby, a girl about two years old, had been terribly abused. She names her Turtle for her tendency to grab onto anything she can and hold on for dear life.
Taylor grows to love Turtle and stops to settle down with her in Arizona. There she meets a woman, Mattie, who ends up giving her a job at her tire shop and becoming one of her greatest friends. She rooms with Lou Ann, whose husband just left her and her newborn baby, and warm fuzzy, though realistic, relationships form. The book has girl-power undertones and portrays the U.S. as mean for considering illegal immigrants “illegal”.
Immigration, falling in love with a married man (though thankfully they do not adulterate), forming relationships and learning to deal with the heartbreaks and realities of life dominate the book. In the end you wonder if she will keep Turtle, or give her to a couple she has grown to love. It is entertaining in the slow, relationship-building, life-lesson-learning sort of way. Definitely aimed at females. I’d rate it PG-13 for the language and frequent talk of male genitalia. The book had me laughing out loud through the whole 261 pages and I grew to mostly care for the characters. Overall a 3.6 out of 5. Thanks for the entertainment, Kingsolver.