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The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

The Bean Trees (1988)

by Barbara Kingsolver

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Turtle (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,679160617 (3.95)399
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 for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.… (more)
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» See also 399 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
Sweet story of a young women who leaves home in search of a better life. She acquires a baby along the way and meets several people who ultimately provide her with a place she can call home. It is a well written enjoyable story that I fully enjoyed. ( )
  tinkerbellkk | May 19, 2020 |
Read. ( )
  sasameyuki | May 8, 2020 |
Barbara Kingsolver is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors, even though this is only the second of her books that I've read.

The Bean Trees is the story of Taylor Green (born Marietta), who manages to leave her Kentucky home and head west. Along the way, she unexpectedly gains custody of a baby and ends up in Arizona. There, Taylor finds friends who become a new family for her, and she learns that the things that she always avoided were actually the things that she values the most now.

Taylor is one of my favorite narrators. She's funny, irreverent, and clever. I loved the relationship between her and Lou Ann, and I appreciated the fact that, at least in the beginning, Taylor wasn't a good parent to Turtle, and she knew it. She absolutely had faults and weaknesses that balanced her out and made her a much more dynamic character.

I would honestly love to read more about Mattie: her history, how she became the person that she is now. She was fascinating to me - as was the story of Estevan and Esperanza, which I'd also like to learn more about. ( )
  bbbbecky13 | Mar 22, 2020 |
I have just finished listening to The Bean Trees written by Barbara Kingsolver and read by C. J. Critt and I now have a bookish crush on Ms. Kingsolver. Why oh why, I ask myself have I avoided this author over the years? Someone in the past made disparaging remarks and I unfortunately believed them. Now I am anxious to read more by this author. The Bean Trees is about feisty Marietta Greer, who escapes the backwaters of Kentucky to find herself a new life. When her car breaks down in Taylorville, Illinois, she chooses to rename herself Taylor. When she reaches Oklahoma and has problems with her ‘55 Volkswagen bug, she ends up having a baby placed in her arms by a sad Cherokee woman. Taylor calls the baby Turtle as she clings so tightly to her new mother.

I loved this story of how Taylor and Turtle find a new place in Arizona for themselves and surround themselves with good friends that become like family. The author uses humor and whimsy in generous amounts but also doesn’t shy away from dark truths and real life. As Taylor embraces the responsibility of motherhood and comes to love the state of Arizona, the reader is treated to a wonderful story of affirmation, risk-taking, commitment and love.

Originally published in 1988, this book, with it’s references to political and human rights issues surrounding illegal immigrants is very relevant to the border situation today. The Bean Trees is a touching, funny and humane story that was raised to excellence by the fantastic narration of C. J. Critt. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Aug 17, 2019 |
I did not like it as much as I did when I read it in the 1980s. I suppose it's bit dated and preachy. I felt that it was paternalistic in regards to Turtle. Still I enjoyed her descriptions of the desert and Tucson. Kingsolver is most skilled at writing about the natural world. ( )
  TMullins | Jun 19, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 160 (next | show all)
Barbara Kingsolver can write. On any page of this accomplished first novel, you can find a striking image or fine dialogue or a telling bit of drama.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Kingsolverprimary authorall editionscalculated
Critt, C.J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Desimini, LisaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Noli, SuzanneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pearce, SusanAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Annie and Joe
For Ismene, and all the mothers who have lost her (10th Anniversary Edition)
First words
I have been afraid of putting air in a tire ever since I saw a tractor tire blow up and throw Newt Hardbines's father over the top of the Standard Oil sign.
I mean, we've got to live in the exact same world every damn day of the week, don't we?
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Meet Taylor Greet. Clear-eyed and spirited, she grew up poor in rural Kentucky with two goals: to avoid pregnancy and to get away. She succeeds on both counts when she buys a 55 Volkswagen and heads west. But by the time our plucky if unlikely heroine pulls up on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona, at an auto repair shop called Jesus is Lord Used Tires that also happens to be a sanctuary for Central American refugees, she's "inherited" a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle. What follows - as Taylor meets the human condition head-on - is at theheart of this memorable novel about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

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