This is Barbara Kingsolver at her best, introducing a subject she is passionate about, in the context of a funny, sad, moving, fascinating story about a young American woman. The subject is global warming (aka climate change). This book is an engaging, engrossing fictional version of Al Gore's important policy book An Inconvenient Truth.
There's so much to enjoy -- let's start with the names. Petite Dellarobia Turnbow is our protagonist; all is from her POV. She lives in tiny, insignificant Feathertown in the Tennessee Appalachians, where the high school math teacher was mainly the basketball coach and used most class-times to shoot hoops with the boys. Dellarobia lives with her husband Burleigh, universally known as Cub, a huge, dense, sweet man whose childhood can't end, since his father's nickname is Bear. Cub's mother, who acts like a classic wicked stepmother, is named Hester. (You'll find out why late in the story.)
Under embarrassing circumstances, Dellarobia discovers that millions of Monarch butterflies are roosting in a grove near the top of a mountain on the Turnbow land. She convinces her husband to take a look, and next the congregation of their church is calling the phenomenon a miracle.
The Outsider who arrives in Feathertown (in a rented, orange VW bug) is the scientist Ovid Byron, a professor and world expert on the Monarch butterflies. With impulsive Southern hospitality, Dellarobia invites him to dinner, then spends the rest of the day in panic, cleaning the worn, dilapidated state of her household and its furnishings.
Kingsolver nails children's behavior perfectly, and this book is full of examples. Dellarobia's 5-year-old son Preston is serious, nerdy, clearly a future scientist. Her daughter Cordelia, age 1, is the rebel, flinging her uncomb-able blonde curls and her applesauce around the house with reckless enthusiasm. There are a couple of classic shopping scenes which every mom will recognize.
For me, the high point of the book is the interview of Ovid Byron by Tina, a perfectly-groomed CNN reporter.
Kingsolver's language is exciting and always appropriate. Dellarobia's sense of humor and metaphors are gleaned from her own life, and the same is true for each of the characters. Example: Dellarobia and Cub are in his truck at the Dairy Prince for a rare meal away from home. She likens this to a date, as they used to have before their marriage. Cub disagrees. Not the same. Now there's a different engine in his truck.
Listen to this book! It's read by the author, who does a great job, even with accents. She did a lot of research, too, so the details of this fictional story are correct.
This is the Barbara Kingsolver I love to read - or listen to! I normally avoid books read by the author, but Kingsolver's oral interpretation of her characters makes this book even more endearing. Although her multiple-voice skills are limited, her main character truly speaks the author's voice. I enjoyed her weaving important lessons about global warming into an entrancing story.
I have already recommended it to my wife's book club. The women characters are unique and the children could have been drawn from our niece and nephew. It is a deliberately paced tail that holds your attention until the end. Enjoyable, educational and entertaining. What more is there?
The operning scenes as the changes in our heroine's life is forshadowed by the rain and the butterflies.
I found her ability to portray all her characters in her voice very surprising.
Clearly, Dellaorbia. It is the story of parallel awakening and survival. She and the Monarchs.
Cub and Ester grow on you. Bear does not.
My admiration for Barbara Kingsolver is boundless! Her body of work is so diverse, and each book so painstakingly researched and crafted, I wonder how she can get it all done in a 24 hour day, since I assume she's also the perfect wife and mother, not to mention farmer and producer of most of the family's meat and vegetables!
This book, about a beautiful phenomenon-cum-natural disaster, is well written, riveting and full of science. Full of my new "expertise" on Monarch butterflies, I was astonished to find a Monarch in my N. Florida backyard while I was listening to the book! It was injured and unable to fly. It contentedly crawled onto my finger and up my arm. As I carried it to the Beautyberry bush, I held it to the light and realized how absolutely perfectly Ms. Kingsolver had described the creature down to the texture of the wings. It was a remarkable experience.
The book's title is perfect, because it captures not only the behavior of the Monarchs, but also of the main character, and her flight "from pillar to post", and eventually to a different life, and other characters as well - maybe all of them! Let's just say multiple metamorphoses took place! I love the way Ms. Kingsolver's compassion and kindness come through, even when her characters are in situations where they HAVE to inflict pain on another to get to that next stage.
I could see how some might be a little put off by the author's reading of the book - her voice is not typical for a recorded book reader. But her intelligence and intention shine through and to me, it felt very personal having someone I admire so much read me my bedtime story!
It made me cry more than once, and laugh often, as is typical for Barbara Kingsolver's books.
This book subtely conveys a personal message that every earthling needs to know and acknowledge.
When the lead character met the scientist and began to realize and acknowledge her potential
Her voice, knowledge and inflection.
I read the Poisonwood Bible long ago, and loved it and learned so much. After hearing the author interviewed on NPR, I rushed to find Flight Behavior and I now want to read Lacuna and Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.
The character, Della Robia, as she evolves.
The timeliness of this story is amazing.
The beginning of the book when Della discovers the butterflies.
Della Robia. She is a butterfly in the making.
Yes because it was a very interesting story about a subject that is happening in today's world - climate change. It could remind you about "Silent Spring" by Rachel Carson.
A warning about what the future might bring.
It was also funny and touching as the main character changes her life.
Dellarobia - the main character because of the transformation she goes through.
Climate change happening before our eyes
I can't really compare it with any other audio books because this was the first one I ordered and I have just started book number two.
The theme of this book was revalent and interesting.
I discovered that by listening to a book rather than reading it, I was better able to visialize the people and scenery as I was listening. Her discription were vivid and detailed.
Delarobia was the most memorable character. I was able to see her from several perspectives--mother, wife, friend, daughter in law---also a person who knew there was more to life than she was experiencing and she came to realize that things had to change. The world was changing and she couldn't be content with her current life situation.
I ordered this book by accident as I was learning about the aduio options and I am so glad I did. It has depbt and a moral message without being preachy.
Worth every minute.
Dellarobia Turnbow was my favorite character. She had wit, warmth, spitfire, and guts... I was drawn in. I grew to care about her, and hope to God that Kingsolver gifts us with a sequel! I'd love to know what the next chapters would be for Dellarobia and her family!
Barbara Kingsolver's gentle, easy Southern female voice and inflections were just the ticket in bringing her own characters and story to life for me.
I wouldn't retitle this book. It's apt not only for the environmental theme of climate change and its potential effect: aberration of the Monarch's migration... But also for Dellarobia herself as she, too, veers into a different course within her life.
This is an excellent production by Audible of a hauntingly engaging and beautiful book. I highly recommend this one! Bravo!
Kingsolver has outdone herself with the narrative of this book. I had the characters voice in my head for days after finishing.
The introspection of the main character and how easily we all misinterpret each other.
Dellarubia was my personal favourite, but she gave all the characters appeal that you could relate to.
Dellarubia and her husband, I'd like to get to know both of them and maybe Ovid too so I could watch the interaction.