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The Bean Trees | [Barbara Kingsolver]

The Bean Trees

Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity of putting down roots.
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Publisher's Summary

Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away.

But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity of putting down roots.

Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

©1988 Barbara Kingsolver; (P)2004 Recorded Books, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (270 )
5 star
 (100)
4 star
 (95)
3 star
 (50)
2 star
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1 star
 (11)
Overall
4.1 (181 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (172 )
5 star
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4 star
 (57)
3 star
 (24)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Nancy Buckhannon, WV, United States 02-22-12
    Nancy Buckhannon, WV, United States 02-22-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    3
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    "Barbara, can we have a "re-do?""
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I wish Barbara Kingsolver would re-record this book in her own voice. Although C. J. Critt is great for Janet Evanovich books and many others, she just doesn't fit with this story. The main character is supposed to be in her 20's, and her roommate and the rest of her relatives are supposed to be from the south. Why does Ms. Critt insist on reading them with a Minnesota Accent? And there are these super long pauses at the chapter breaks. Sorry to be so negative, I just adore Ms. Kingsolver's writing and have listened to every unabridged book of hers Audible has to offer, and I just don't think I can finish this one. And one more thing Audible...quit bothering with abridged novels (many of Barbara Kingsolver's audio books on Audible are unfortunately...abridged.) I would never waste a credit on an abridged book!


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cora Judd California 05-24-09
    Cora Judd California 05-24-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    415
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    253
    37
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    FOLLOWING
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    Overall
    "I just can't do it"

    If you chose The Bean Trees based on the lyrical prose and compelling characters of Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible or Prodigal Summer, you'll feel at some point that you've been tricked. The Bean Trees is nothing like those.
    About 2 hours into this book, I began to feel like I was on a pony tethered to a centerpost; I was definitely on a ride, but my pony wasn't going anywhere. I persisted for another hour or so but have finally abandoned it. 2 stars for effort and 1 star for loyalty.

    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 07-18-14
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 07-18-14 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    419
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    314
    167
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    93
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    Story
    "Narration Totally Ruins this Mediocre Story"

    I tried, I really did. There was no getting past the narrator's gasping breaths between every sentence; the ungodly long pauses between paragraphs ( and even longer ones between chapters.) I tried to stick with it but after two+ hours, I gave it up. The story wasn't particularly engaging and that, combined with the dreadful narration was just too much to bare. Do authors have a say in who performs their books? I can't believe Barbara Kingsolver would approve of this awful production.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catarina Stockholm, Sweden 03-26-12
    Catarina Stockholm, Sweden 03-26-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I felt invited to her journey from my armchair"
    Where does The Bean Trees rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Bean Trees is a fantastic book covering a journey in life as well as over land in a car. An amazing read.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How the main character Taylor shares her feelings and thoughts, letting me both feel connected to her and to learn a new perspective.


    What about C. J. Critt’s performance did you like?

    Her accent and voice


    If you could rename The Bean Trees, what would you call it?

    Something about a journey and accepting what comes to you


    Any additional comments?

    Barbara Kingsolver writes uniquely, always close to nature and with a very open relationship, straight forward to people and to what it means being human.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Lee Gainesville, Florida United States 12-16-09
    Jane Lee Gainesville, Florida United States 12-16-09 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Jane"

    The reader was so annoying that I couldn't get past the first hour. Her older voice was too sarcastic and inappropriate for the young people's story. The story itself didn't inspire me to read it on my own. Kingsolver has disappointed me.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chani Petah TiqwaIsrael 04-12-13
    Chani Petah TiqwaIsrael 04-12-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    5
    3
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    4
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    Story
    "Gave it up in the middle."

    I first listened to the Poisonwood Bible and was gripped from the beginning by the story and the wonderful narration. Then I listened to Prodigal Summer, and though it was completely different, I was engrossed from the start, though it took me a bit to get used to Ms Kingsolver's narration, once I did I found I liked her reading very much.

    So I looked forward with great anticipation to listen to the Bean Trees. The first hour was pretty interesting, in spite of the narration, which I found grating and monotonous, and the accents were all wrong. After being bored for the next 3 or 4 hours, I took a look at the reviews here. I guess I didn't read them before I bought the book, and maybe a couple were posted after my purchase, but I have to agree with all the negative comments. Even with better narration, I think I would have stopped. It just stopped being interesting. As others have said, it just doesn't seem to go anywhere, and the characters are pretty boring.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Spring, TX, USA 01-18-10
    Cynthia Spring, TX, USA 01-18-10 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I enjoyed it"

    I enjoyed this book. I like C.J. Critt as a narrator. You can pick up some of Ms. Kingsolver's themes, such as the importance of gardening and how cruel and hypocritical the world often is, in the book.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Holly Booms Walsh Madison, WI, United States 02-22-14
    Holly Booms Walsh Madison, WI, United States 02-22-14 Member Since 2011

    audiobook addict

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    "a dear favorite"

    I have long been a fan of the story of Taylor and Turtle Greer and their search for family (this book and Pigs In Heaven, the sequel). I read these in hard copy when I was living abroad, and they made me so nostalgic for home that I cried. They may not be as grand and sweeping a tale as The Poisonwood Bible, but they feel true and real in a tangible way. Taylor is matter of fact, practical, insecure, and wryly funny. I feel a deep connection to her. I thought CJ Critt's narration was perfect for Taylor (despite the lack of a Southern accent) as her tone is perfectly humble, heartfelt, and sarcastic. These books are a great coming of age story and I'll re-listen many more times in my life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    RueRue Orange County, CA 02-14-14
    RueRue Orange County, CA 02-14-14 Member Since 2013

    RueRue

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    "Some special moments"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The story seemed a little disjointed, characters that made an appearance but didn't add to the outcome of the story. The ending was inconclusive.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was ok, but the narrators voice was too old for the character.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amy Rexford, NY, United States 11-21-13
    Amy Rexford, NY, United States 11-21-13 Member Since 2011

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "2nd time around"

    I read this years ago and loved it Now my daughter is reading it in school so I decided to take a listen. I am so glad I did. As a "real" adult with daughters this adds a different perspective with much more depth. I enjoyed this all over again, for some of the same reasons, and some new ones.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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