Author: Barbara Kingsolver
One-sentence summary: A small-town wife and mother feeling suffocated by her life discovers a wonderful yet sad Monarch migration phenomenon near their house in the Apalachian mountains which becomes a catalyst for change and awakening.
B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 7
Our favorite thing about it: Beautiful writing and insightful character development.
Our least favorite thing about it: The story kind of plateaued about half way through the book and lost any forward momentum.
Main Topics of Discussion: Butterflies, Nature, Weather, Marriage, Family Relationships, Small Towns, Poor/Rich dynamic, Education, Science and Religion.
Our favorite quote: “Man against Nature. Of all possible conflicts, that was the one that was hopeless. Even a slim education had taught her this much: Man loses.”
Notes: Overall, we liked many things about this book, but felt that it just didn’t have the oomph that we wished it had. The thing that disappointed us the most was the plot…that it didn’t move forward after a certain point. It just was not an event-based story line and that affected our enjoyment of the book a little bit.
There is always something that we learn from a book. It may be factual knowledge or some insight into human behavior. In this book, it was probably both. The facts about the monarchs were really interesting and we felt that the descriptions of the insects as they hung on the trees was beautiful.
Equally as beautiful was Kingsolver’s writing. She can so uniquely and poignantly describe human emotions and conditions. She does not waste words, but crafts each sentence to pack the most punch. This, we loved. A few quotes to illustrate:
“It’s like I’m standing by the mailbox waiting all the time for a letter. Every day you come along and put something else in there. A socket wrench or a milkshake. It’s not bad stuff. Just the wrong things for me.”
“Every loss she had ever borne had been declared the Lord’s business.”
“There’s just not room at our house for the end of the world.”
“In her experience people had worries of they had tons of money, not both.”
She also can be very clever and humorous in her writing, which we thoroughly enjoyed:
“People automatically estimate a mom’s IQ at around her children’s ages, maybe dividing by the number of kids, rounding up to the nearest pajama size.”
“Will you explain to me why people encourage delusional behavior in children, and medicate it in adults?”
There were so many topics packed into this book and they heavily overlapped each other. In that way, the story was brilliant. We just wish it had more momentum so that we were more eager to read it.
Memorable Meeting Moments: We made plans for our lake house trip and shared some memories about our last Jeopardy game at Christmas! :)
What We Ate: Cream Cheese and Avocado Canapés, Tequila Lime Chicken with Fiesta Lime Rice, Strawberry Basil Margaritas, and Dr. Pepper Cake with Ice Cream.