The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
Disclaimer: My blogging buddy Jo recently recommended a book which sounded intriguing and which gave me the idea to review the book I was reading at the time.
Marietta “Taylor” Greer is the main character and quite a colorful young woman. She’s unafraid of anything except being stuck in her home town in rural Kentucky. When she packs up her used VW bug and heads east she leaves behind her mama, who will miss her but who is also happy to see her baby getting out of dodge (so to speak :)).
On the way west Taylor has car problems in Oklahoma, and after having repairs made stops at the bar next to the garage to see what her last dollar will buy. As she’s leaving, a woman follows her out and gives her a child. No really, gives her a child.
And that’s only Chapter 1!
Supporting characters include Lou Ann, another young woman from Kentucky who fell in love with a rodeo man and moved with him to Tucson; Mattie, the owner of the Tucson tire place Taylor limps her car into with two flat tires; and Edna and Virgie, the girls’ elderly next door neighbors.
Without giving too much away, Taylor learns about parenting and life on the job. There’s so much meat here that I savored this book and made it last for over a week (I usually finish a book this size within a day or two). The descriptions are rich and vibrant and made me almost want to visit the desert. Taylor has a common sense attitude and a compassionate heart. She learns that things aren’t always what the seem on the surface and you have to protect those you love.
This is an excellent synopsis from the back cover: “Hers (Taylor’s) is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.”
I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good character studies mixed with some humor and a touch of sadness.
Let me know if you check it out (or if you’ve already read it).