Friday, July 04, 2008

Redefining Family

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Taylor Greer, the novel's protagonist and narrator, grew up in a small, poor town in rural Kentucky, and her one goal in life was to get out. When she's finally saved up enough money, she gets into her car and just drives, ending up in Phoenix, Arizona. On the way, she has aquired a three year old child.

Taylor and Turtle move in with Lou Ann and her infant son, her husband having recently left her. As these women live together, they form a close friendship, and Lou Ann becomes more confident and less of a push over thanks to Taylor's influence. Various other characters play important roles in their lives, and form a family for themselves.

Overall, it was good, and I'll probably pick up the sequel eventually. Kingsolver also addresses ideas of nationhood and immigration as Taylor learns about different people and cultures in her new community.

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