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Bean Trees Paperback – Apr 1 1989

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Paperback, Apr 1 1989
CDN$ 13.30 CDN$ 0.01 Books Gift Guide

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 1 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060915544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060915544
  • Product Dimensions: 20.5 x 13.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (329 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #342,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Feisty Marietta Greer changes her name to "Taylor" when her car runs out of gas in Taylorville, Ill. By the time she reaches Oklahoma, this strong-willed young Kentucky native with a quick tongue and an open mind is catapulted into a surprising new life. Taylor leaves home in a beat-up '55 Volkswagen bug, on her way to nowhere in particular, savoring her freedom. But when a forlorn Cherokee woman drops a baby in Taylor's passenger seat and asks her to take it, she does. A first novel, The Bean Trees is an overwhelming delight, as random and unexpected as real life. The unmistakable voice of its irresistible heroine is whimsical, yet deeply insightful. Taylor playfully names her little foundling "Turtle," because she clings with an unrelenting, reptilian grip; at the same time, Taylor aches at the thought of the silent, staring child's past suffering. With Turtle in tow, Taylor lands in Tucson, Ariz., with two flat tires and decides to stay. The desert climate, landscape and vegetation are completely foreign to Taylor, and in learning to love Arizona, she also comes face to face with its rattlesnakes and tarantulas. Similarly, Taylor finds that motherhood, responsibility and independence are thorny, if welcome, gifts. This funny, inspiring book is a marvelous affirmation of risk-taking, commitment and everyday miracles.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This debut novel follows the gritty, outspoken Taylor Greer, who leaves her native Kentucky to head west. She becomes mother to an abandoned baby and, when her jalopy dies in Tucson, is forced to work in a tire garage and to room with a young, battered divorcee who also has a little girl. With sisterly counsel and personal honesty, the two face their painful lot (told in ponderous detail). The blue-collar setting, described vibrantly, often turns violent, with baby beatings, street brawls, and drug busts. Despite the hurt and rage, themes of love and nurturing emerge. A refreshingly upbeat, presentable first effort by an author whose subsequent novels will probably generate more interest than this one. Edward C. Lynskey, Documentation, Atlantic Research Corp., Alexandria, Va.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
I have been afraid of putting air in a tire ever since I saw a tractor tire blow up an throw Newt Hardbine's father over the top of the Standard Oil sign. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Farley on Dec 14 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading The Poisonwood Bible, I decided to read some of her other works. The story started out with promise - a young woman on here way to anywhere is handed an unwanted child. Taylor's character was plucky and quirky enough to keep me interested.
Once she finds a destination to settle in, Tuscon, AZ, the plot begins to meander without much conflict to stir things up. I usually go by the "fifty page rule" - if I'm not totally involved by page fifty, I stop reading. In this case, I got halfway through the book - over a hundred pages before I gave up and quit reading.
As this was written well before the Poisonwood Bible, one can see a dramatic improvement from The Bean Trees to her more recent works.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By p40tomahawk on Jan. 26 2001
Format: Hardcover
I'm being a little hard on Kingsolver with just two stars, but that's partly because I have also read her amazing POISONWOOD BIBLE, a work of gratifying emotional and psychological complexity. BEAN TREES, by contrast, seems simplistic and shallow. For example, the characters in BEAN TREES divide up neatly into the not just good but positively heroic gals (Taylor, her employer, her neighbors, her roommate) and the bad guys (INS, various ex-husbands and boyfriends). Notice that these categories also divide up neatly by gender. For whatever reason, Kingsolver doesn't address the male point of view at all, except to use men as cardboard villains creating the problems that the women have to deal with. This may be a point of view worth addressing, but I'm dismayed to find it the only point of view, period.(Estevan is a woman's mind in a man's character). The result is that BEAN TREES reads more like a light fantasy than a challenging novel. In POISONWOOD BIBLE, Kingsolver dealt skillfully and realistically with the personal and political tragedies. But in BEAN TREES, all the loose ends are wrapped up neatly and unconvincingly in no time at all. The ending in particular seemed contrived to make things work out a particular way. As a reader, I grant the author complete suspension of my disbelief in establishing the premises of a novel, but then I expect the writer to follow the implications of those premises to their logical ends, for better or worse. POISONWOOD BIBLE satisfied me in this respect, but BEAN TREES did not. On the other hand, I greatly admired the characterization of the Taylor character, especially the little "Kentucky-ism's" she threw into the dialogue.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Bradley on April 24 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first book I read of Barbara Kingsolver's was The Poisonwood Bible. It was so good that I decided to read more of her stuff. Unfortunately, it's all down hill from there folks. Poisonwood is fabulous and I've not found her other books to be any where near as good. In fact I read The Bean Trees a few months ago and I really can't remember much about it. Barbara Kingsolver is a talented writer, but this one just didn't hit the mark for me.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver is a book rich in metaphors and similes. It is a story about a young girl who escapes her small town, where most young people drop out of school, and the girls get pregnant. For Missy, these are not options. She buys herself a car and heads out for maturing experiences. Her first decision is that since she is starting a new life, she needs a new name, so she calls herself "Taylor." As she is driving, she tells herself she will stop and live in the city in which her car breaks down. This doesn't happen because along the way, she picks up a passenger, a little Native American baby. Now she has herself and the baby to worry about. She stops in Arizona and loves it. So, she decides to stay. It is in this town, she discovers friendship, love, responsibility, maturity, and the true meaning of family.
The physical descriptions in the book, while at times, may seem over done, are truely what make the book a vivid, potent journey. Before Taylors journey begins, she is working in a hospital and one of the girls she went to school with, but got pregnant and married, is brought into the hospital covered in blood, and Missy says she was, " a butcher holding down a calf on its way to becoming a cut of meat" (10). She also witnesses a tire blowing up and says, "... Newt Hardbine's daddy flying up into the air, in slow motion, like a fish flinging sideways out of the water. And Newt laid out like a hooked bass" (15). Then when she gets to Arizona, she see rocks that were "...stacked on top of one another like piles of copulating potato bugs" (47). These are just a few of the similies that enrich the story. She also uses metaphors in abundance to create a picture.
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By Theresa on May 11 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a great book, although it's not my favorite. The main character is Taylor Greer, who has lived her whole life in Kentucky with her mom. Determined not to get pregnant like some other people she knows, she leaves Kentucky to travel as far as her car will take her. On the way, she meets an Indian woman who unexpectedly gives her a child whose past was filled with horrible events for someone as young as her. Taylor becomes attatched to this toddler, whom she names Turtle, but must rise to the challenge of parenthood. Accompanied on her journey by charming and loving friends, Talyor watches Turtle grow older, alerting Taylor to the situation of legal adoption if she wants to keep Turtle. This story is a touching one of friendship, determination, and unconditional love. The thing that is most memorable about this book, though, is it's many philosophical ideas that Taylor receives from other characters in the story. For example, one character tells Taylor, "Whatever you want the most,it's going to be the worst thing for you." Kingsolver has cleverly interwined deep ideas to create a more meaningful story. This book is a good read for a rainy day if you have a few hours. If you are interested in this story, there is also a companion book to it called Pigs in Heaven, also a very good book.
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