Ambassador of Books ~ Book Club Madam ~ Blogger Gal

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees
by Barbara Kingsolver
336 pages

*** The Plot ***

A young but tough gal leaves her poor Kentucky home to make a new life for herself. Along the way she ends up with a baby (not her own) and must learn how to survive in the world. Her new found home in Arizona brings different and interesting people into her world. It also presents her with choices she must make regarding how to live her life.

*** My Thoughts ***

This book is about REAL people - not people that actually exist, but people that COULD exist. The way the main character ended up with the baby wasn't quite believable to me but every other aspect of this book could be a true story. The characters are real, the dialogue is real, the situations are real. If you want an authentic story about making do with what you've got, then this is it.

On the whole I did enjoy this book, but I was expecting more from it. It was a bit unfair of me though. Another of Kingsolver's books, THE POISONWOOD BIBLE, is one of my all-time favorites and I was expecting/hoping that this book would measure up to it. It didn't. But I think that if I had read this without any prior expectations, I'd have been pleased with it.

*** My Book Club ***

This was my book club's pick for the month of March. You can read about my club's discussion at our blog here. And I'll have a post up at sometime next week with more analysis of the book and our reactions to it - I hope you'll go check it out!

Do you always have high expectations for other books by an author you love? In the past have your your expectations been met or were you disappointed?


bermudaonion said...

I read this one years ago and really liked it. Kingsolver is a favorite of mine.

Florinda said...

This was the first Kingsolver I ever read, nearly 20 years ago (!), and I thought it was great. The sequel, Pigs in Heaven, is even better, and I think Taylor is a great character.

Dreamybee said...

I had the same experience. After reading The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees just wasn't what I was looking for from Kingsolver.

myza said...

I loved this book...I thought the characters were great and it was an interesting read. My first Kingsolver book was Prodigal Summer ...which I really enjoyed. I think all of her books are great and different from each other, which I enjoy.

Jenny said...

This was our book club pick for January and I enjoyed it. I agree, not like Poisonwood Bible at all (which I loved). Oringinally being from KY, I can so relate to Taylor's need to get out at any costs.

Darla D said...

I read this years ago and enjoyed it, too, but I can see how the build-up makes a difference. I think my favorite of hers is Animal Dreams, but I haven't read them all.

Alyce said...

I haven't read any of her books (I just picked up The Poisonwood Bible from a book sale yesterday). I have had that happen before - a book not living up to an author's previous work. I realize that not every book by an author I like is going to wow me, but if they've written something spectacular in the past I keep reading their works; hoping that they will someday strike gold again.

Bybee said...

I loved this -- read it when it first came out. Didn't like Pigs In Heaven as much because Kingsolver switched Taylor's narrative from first person to third person. I enjoyed Prodigal Summer, but actually prefer her nonfiction.

kelly said...

Yeah, I love Kingsolver but this isn't my favorite. Have you read Prodigal Summer? I love that even more than The Poisonwood Bible. You must read!

Heather J. said...

bermunaonion - She's great, right?!

Florinda - One of the gals at the club mentioned that there was a sequel - a few of the gals are going to check it out.

Dreamybee & Jenny - I know, right? You totally get what I felt like.

myza - I'll have to get Prodigal Summer for sure.

DarlaD - yeah, the build-up was the killer for me.

Alyce - you MUST read Poisonwood!!! I can't wait to see what you think of it!!!

bybee - I've got Animal Vegetable Miracle on my dresser just waiting to be read ...

kelly - Better?! Really?! Wow, I'll definitely have to see about that.

Rebecca :) said...

Poisonwood Bible is one of my all-time favorite books as well. I will try to read The Bean Trees without having too high expectations since you recommended it.

Amanda said...

Oh I loved the Poisonwood Bible as well. Even my husband loved it and he's hard to please. This one sounds good but I too have high expectations. But I'll try not to have too high of one while reading it :)

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