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Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver

Pigs in Heaven (original 1993; edition 1994)

by Barbara Kingsolver

Series: Turtle (2)

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4,87356949 (3.9)150
Title:Pigs in Heaven
Authors:Barbara Kingsolver
Info:Harper Perennial (1994), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library

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Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver (1993)

  1. 20
    The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver (Kerian)
  2. 00
    Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir (charl08)
    charl08: Female protagonist in charge of a child without warning, trying to make sense of new caring responsibilities (with mixed results) on a road trip.

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English (55)  Dutch (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Dropped off on my table by a friend. Realized after I had read a few pages that I had read it before so I skimmed it to get the story I remember and it is a great book about a moral issue concerning an adopted native child by a white woman and her and the native family's concerns, decisions and moral obligations to /for the child. A good read. ( )
  Greymowser | Jan 23, 2016 |
In this sequel to The Bean Trees, Taylor Greer and her adopted daughter, Turtle, are living in Tucson with Taylor’s boyfriend. After Turtle saves a man’s life, the nationally televised story brings them to the attention of a lawyer for the Cherokee Nation. She starts investigating and discovers that Turtle’s adoption wasn’t legal. Taylor will do anything to keep Turtle, and with the help of Taylor’s mother, their journey to become a family affects the lives of everyone they meet.

This wasn’t a bad book, but I didn’t enjoy reading it. The plot was really predictable, so the story itself was boring, and it was obvious that there were no happy endings. I did enjoy learning more about Cherokee culture, but overall, this was my least favorite of Kingsolver’s books. ( )
  AmandaL. | Jan 16, 2016 |
[Pigs in Heaven] by Barbara Kingsolver is the sequel to [The Bean Trees]. It's three years later. Turtle does something pretty remarkable that catches the eyes of Oprah Winfrey's minions. She and her mother appear on Oprah's TV show, where Annawake Fourkiller sees them and immediately recognizes Turtle as Cherokee. Annawake is Cherokee and a recently minted attorney who gloms onto what she sees as a child improperly separated from the tribe. She feels compelled to interfere with a mother-daughter bond to enforce a tribal bond. She reviews Oklahoma's adoption paperwork and arranges to meet Taylor Greer at her home in Tucson.

Standing in Taylor's kitchen, coffee in hand, Annawake begins their conversation with an admission:

"I'm sorry," she tells Taylor, "I've misled you…I'm not a reporter. I'm an attorney… I work in an office that does a lot of work for the Cherokee Nation. That's what I want to talk with you about. Turtle's adoption might not be valid."
Taylor's cup stops an inch from her lips, and for nearly half a minute she does not appear to breathe.

Annawake tells Taylor of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which was enacted in 1978 because so many Indian kids were being separated from their families and put into non-Indian homes.

"I don't mean to scare you," Annawake says quietly. "But I want you to have some background on the problem. We need to make sure our laws are respected."
Taylor turns around and faces Annawake, her hair wheeling. "I didn't take Turtle from any family, she was dumped on me. Dumped. She'd already lost her family, and she'd been hurt in ways I can't even start to tell you without crying. Sexual ways. Your people let her fall through the crack and she was in bad trouble. She couldn't talk, she didn't walk, she had the personality of—I don't know what. A bruised apple. Nobody wanted her." Taylor's hands are shaking. She crosses her arms in front of her chest and slumps forward a little in the manner of a woman heavily pregnant.
"And now that she's a cute little adorable child and gets famous and goes on television, now you want her back."
"This has nothing to do with Turtle being on television. Except that it brought her to our attention." Annawake looks away and thinks about her tone. Lawyer words will not win any cases in this kitchen. She is not so far from Oklahoma. "Please don't panic. I'm only telling you that your adoption papers may not be valid because you didn't get approval from the tribe. You need that. It might be a good idea to get it."
"And what if they won't give it?"
Annawake can't think of the right answer to that question.
Taylor demands, "How can you possibly think this is in Turtle's best interest?"
"How can you think it's good for a tribe to lose its children!" Annawake is startled by her own anger—she has shot without aiming first. Taylor is shaking her head back and forth, back and forth.
"I'm sorry, I can't understand you. Turtle is my daughter. If you walked in here and asked me to cut off my hand for a good cause, I might think about it. But you don't get Turtle."
"There's the child's best interest and the tribe's best interest, and I'm trying to think of both things."
"Horseshit." Taylor turns away, facing the window.

No sooner does the dust settle behind Annawake Fourkiller's departing rental car than Taylor is packing her car and departing Tucson with Turtle, the beginning of an odyssey to Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and on to the Pacific Northwest. At each stop, Taylor's resources and options dwindle.

This confrontation between maternal commitment and tribal rights is the linchpin of the plot. Yes, we read about Lucky Buster and his mother; about Barbie, who's obsessed with the outfits marketed for the doll she's named and modelled herself after; about Steve Kant, the wheelchair-bound air traffic controller. There's Gundi, Taylor's landlady, a quirky artist who's as likely as not to roam about her rental cottages in the buff. These are rich and entertaining characters. Kingsolver's a master of character and dialogue.

In the end, I felt disappointed because while the plot rummaged through the difficult, divisive, often (usually?) sorrowful issues of heritage, family, parenthood, and adoption, the characters were contrived and the plot manipulated to produce a heartwarming, everybody-wins finish. The solution in such circumstances is to have distant, dormant, unlikely-but-damned-convenient family relationships.

  weird_O | Nov 15, 2015 |
I very much enjoyed this book. There is a strong cultural dynamic, as well as the theme of motherhood and fear of loss. The characters are mostly compelling and, while the resolution is all a bit too neat, the story effectively drew me in throughout. Definitely one of the best things I've read this year, though, to be fair, the year thus far has been pretty well occupied by assigned readings. ( )
  TiffanyAK | May 8, 2015 |
Very nice character study; clever story/settings & nice background descriptions of American Indian adoption laws, Thoroughly enjoyable read. One of her best! ( )
  JosephKing6602 | Jan 15, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
The case for community is so one-sided and the outcome so predictable that the reader begins to suffocate in all the sweetness. You begin to cringe at treacly lines like "Heaven's on down the trail a little bit" and "I oftentimes have communication problems with my heart." Ms. Kingsolver is oftentimes a talented, funny writer in "Pigs in Heaven," but after a while you begin to wish she would invent a Hell, Okla., and make a case for living there, too.
Barbara Kingsolver's terrific new novel, "Pigs in Heaven," picks up where her highly acclaimed first novel, "The Bean Trees," left off. In this heart-twisting sequel, her feisty young heroine, Taylor Greer, is faced with the possibility of losing her 6-year-old daughter, Turtle.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Kingsolverprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Critt, C. J.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060922532, Paperback)

A phenomenal bestseller and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award for fiction, Pigs in Heaven continues the story of Taylor and Turtle, first introduced in The Bean Trees.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:15 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Brings together Taylor, Turtle and Alice from "The Bean Trees" together with a new cast - Jax, Barbie Sugar Boss, Oklahoma and Annawake Fourkiller. When six-year-old Turtle witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam, her insistence, and her mother's belief in her, leads to a man's rescue.… (more)

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