This book is so good in so many ways it is hard to know where to start. The reader who is also the author gives a sterling performance.
The character development (which is so often lacking in so many of today's works) is fantastic. The viewpoint of rural versus urban is also fantastic. I know, I was born rural and moved to the city. The culture shock is quite shocking. Now the reverse is happening, urban or suburban raised going to the country and watching that has been very interesting! Anyways I absolutely love Barbara Kingsolver and read every word she writes. I think she is one of the urban to rural people with the ability to understand and adequately show to all of us the difference in life experiences and knowledge. From this book I get the feeling that she understands the rural poor, especially those who get stuck in 18th century thought and stay there. I meet them weekly in my trips to the local feed store. These denizens hang on to their Fox News with all their might in the hopes that all is well.
The part which is a phenomenal accomplishment is the part where the author through her main characters explain climate change to others. It is the best rebuttal to all the naysayers I have read and Ms. Kingsolver should be the voice for that type of education in all media and everywhere. She gave many acknowledgements in her book to many different people, including Bill McKibben, but her clear explanation of climate change and its proofs left me awed and I had read Bill McKibben.
At an emotional level, the death of a species is another horrible theme of the book and maybe even a little hope is there for overnight or at least one or two generation evolution. Lyall Watson has written a book on quick evolution and proved it. There is the same hope here.
This past year, a single monarch feasted on a sunflower plant in my yard. I live north of the fire ant invasion now in Texas and in a much earlier year I happened outside just as the large monarch butterfly population was heading towards Mexico via the Texas Hill Country 30 miles north of San Antonio and 150 miles south of where I now live seeing the single monarch. That vision near San Antonio of the delicate filtering of millions of these beautiful butterflies I count as one of the premiere memories I have. The other was when about 20 whooping cranes passed overhead on the way to the Texas coast also near San Antonio, Texas.
I ordered milkweed seeds from the group that advocates planting them via the net and I didn't get them in the ground. I will this year though before I plant anything else come spring. Since non-green government took over the State of Texas, they are spraying herbicides on the freeways and roadsides again, but for a while no spraying was done and no mowing was done where a field of flowers lived. Ignorance and stupidity keeps washing back into politics. We are all monarch butterflies because of it. This summer was mostly over 100 degrees with very little rain. I grow my own, but the only garden plant that survived were the weeds. I have learned to love weed salad!
I do recommend this to friends! The issues are facing all of us, and Kingsolver wraps them in great writing and humor.
The story creates empathy for different perspectives on the pressing issues of climate change, and offers points of view that can easily be overlooked--i.e. if one lives close to the land in the South (or anywhere), what are the pressures that affect one's life as it relates to the environment, to education, to economics? I also found myself laughing aloud at her turn of a phrase and her ability to represent the variety of voices that make up a town, and a planet.
I enjoyed her characters, and felt she could bring nuance to their thinking and expression. She knows her subjects. She knows more about these characters and where they came from, and where they're headed than a 'professional' actor would.
I appreciate that Kingsolver is willing to invest her time and research into one of the most controversial issues of our times. That there remains uncertainty about the impact of climate change is unfathomable to me. The way she put the media in its place by the passionate scientist lampooning the superficiality of the interviewer was satisfying to me. The call to 'wake-up' was loud and clear. The story was engaging enough that her reason for writing it was not lost in the message--and I learned more about butterflies and the environment. Not to mention sheep, and the hope that we still may have to heed the wake up call and believe in the miracle of life.
I've not been a total Barbara Kingsolver fan... some of her books were amazing, and others lost me in the first chapter .... I did have to listen to the first part 3 times before I understood where she was headed, but after that I was hooked.
This is a story of culture clashes, environmental issues, and the human condition. Dellarobia, an unlikely heroine, is a bright and articulate woman who is married to the dullard who fathered her children, and stuck in a life of second hand stores and family dysfunction. As she witnesses an environmental oddity, she is thrust into a world that has been hidden from her by her own fate.
Kingslover weaves a great tale of values, yet some of the story lines get tied up in a hurried manner. Her narration is crisp, but the character voices are a bit beyond her range. That aside, the story is satisfying and enlightening on many levels.
Beautiful! Everyday I looked forward to listening to this. Its a good story, beautifully written with some interesting science. I loved Barbara Kingsolver as a reader for this book. Her voice has great authenticity and always seemed on target.
This book is well worth reading.
This is a phenomenal book. Set in Tennessee,in Appalachia, it is the story of the disruption caused by a monarch butterfly community that is misplaced from Mexico to a Tennessee mountain. The story is narrated through Dellarobia Turnbow. She is a high school graduate whose education was interrupted by a premarital miscarried pregnancy, followed by marriage and 2 children. She is married into a family of sheep breeders who do not accept her, and to their son who is not her intellectual equal. She accidentally discovers the displaced monarch community occupying the fir forests above her house, while on a tryst. The book describes the social, environmental and scientific ramifications of the butterfly relocation. Along the way, Ovid Byron, a butterfly biologist arrives and rekindles in Dellarobia an academic interest in learning which had been dormant since high school. All this and much, much more, including family politics, insight into how a child sees the world and sympathy for every one. Also, there is the amazing biology and life cycle of the monarchs and interpretation of how global warming is affecting this planet.
There is description of the press distortions of events and the effect of Dellarobia suddenly being a celebrity.
This book is definitely a romantic book, in that everyone is seen through rosy and sympathetic filters. For instance, I have not run into any young mothers who have the innate intelligence, inquisitiveness, imagination and thirst for knowledge attributed to Dellarobia. On the other hand that is the charm which makes you enthralled with her.Also, as a doctor and scientist, I have yet to know anyone with the purity of motive and idealism of Ovid Byron, but I would like to think they exist. This is the best book I have listened to on books on tape and it is read lovingly by its creator,
I grew up near the area represented in this story, and could vividly picture real people in these characters' situations. The pace of the story was not too fast, not too slow, just as life in rural Tennessee can be.
I appreciated that each character had flaws and strengths; this kept each of them important to the story.
The central character, Dellarobia was my favorite character. She evoked sympathy as well as respect, as she managed her family and herself in a less than friendly situation.
The author/narrator did a good job of making Cub seem to be the affable, immature, little boy inside a man's body. But she also made him likeable in her slow way of speaking his lines.
I was definitely engaged in the story; I listen to audiobooks when I run, and wanting to hear the story helped motivate me to go out even on the cold, raw days!
I loved the Bean Trees, Prodigal Summer, and the Poisonwood Bible, so I was excited to see a new Barbara Kingsolver novel come out. Sadly, Flight Behavior was slow, boring, and preachy... even a little depressing. Added to that, the narration was simply awful and hard to listen to.
Barbra Kingsolver's portrayal of a Virgin Islander's accent was at first laughable, and then downright annoying.
I normally enjoy Barbara Kingsolver, but found this book a little lacking in character development.
This one is not nearly as good as her other reads.
Her reading really lacked any kind of emotion or feeling.
I have found this book riveting. Barbara Kingsolve really brings home the effects of global warming. It also demonstrates how our domestic economic policy places struggling farm families between a moral rock and a hard place.
I love being read to in the author's voice.
I love Barbara Kingsolver's writing and her narration is perfect.
There is so much wisdom and compassion in this book. I found myself constantly stopping to listen to a line or a section again and again hoping to commit them to memory.
I have all her work on audible so it is like listening to an old friend.