The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees

A Novel

Book - 2009
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Barbara Kingsolver's 1988 debut novel is a classic workof American fiction. Now a standard in college literature classes across thenation, and a book that appears in translation across the globe, The BeanTrees is not only a literary masterpiece but a popular triumph--anarrative that readers worldwide have taken into their hearts. The Los Angeles Times calls The Bean Trees "the work of a visionary. . . . It leaves you open-mouthed and smiling."
Publisher: New York : HarperPerennial Modern Classics, 2009, c1988
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial Modern Classics ed
ISBN: 9780061765223
0061765228
Branch Call Number: KINGSOLV B
Characteristics: 246 p. ; 21 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Sometimes you find your best friend in unlikely places. After moving from her home in Kentucky, Taylor finds herself in Arizona living with a neurotic young mother and her baby who soon become her family.

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lbarkema Nov 02, 2015

This was a sweet story, no doubt. But there wasn't as much substance to it as I was hoping there would be after reading The Poisonwood Bible. I know this was her first novel as opposed to when she had developed her craft more in Poisonwood, but I guess I expected more. Also despite it being a sho... Read More »


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g
glotet
Sep 28, 2018

The story reflects in horrific truth what was actually unfolding under the Argentinian dictatorship in the 1970's. How courageous of the author to undertake in a first novel such a situation which also reflects the reality of challenges of our Indigineous Culture in North America.

p
peacebenow
Aug 26, 2018

It took me a bit to get into the "Bean Trees" but by one third the of way through I was hooked. Tyler, Turtle and friends are out of the ordinary people on an journey not planned whom you soon become attached. Kingsolver's writing style grows and is extraordinary by the end. I signed out "Pigs in heaven" the sequel as soon as I finished.

DBRL_IdaF Nov 15, 2017

Funny and touching and painful and affirming. Not a word is wasted in the writing in this novel. Kingsolver's use of language in story-telling is masterful. Her characters are real and flawed and lovable.

The protagonist, Marietta Greer, is a tiny-town Kentucky girl raised by a strong single mother who kept body and soul together through housecleaning work.

Wanting something more for her life than she can find in her hometown, Marietta works and saves her money until she has enough to buy a mostly-running car. Then she sets off driving west, ending up in Tucson.

By the time she arrives there, she's changed her name to Taylor and received the surprise gift of a non-verbal toddler, a little girl she calls Turtle. Taylor makes a home with another single mom, while landing a job at Jesus is Lord Used Tires, also a stop on the underground railroad for Guatemalan refugees(It's the 1980s.) She learns that the world can be both a whole lot worse and a whole lot better than she'd ever known.

c
csrestall
Apr 21, 2016

I read this book as a novel study for one of my students it was better than I anticipated. I enjoyed the characters and story lines. I enjoyed seeing the characters develop from the beginning to end. It was a simple read and enjoyable.

kdwaynec Apr 01, 2016

I picked this up a few years ago, needing 'anything' to read and found it to be much better than I had expected. Very funny in places and I'll try another by Kingsolver, maybe Pigs because it sounds like Part II

lbarkema Nov 02, 2015

This was a sweet story, no doubt. But there wasn't as much substance to it as I was hoping there would be after reading The Poisonwood Bible. I know this was her first novel as opposed to when she had developed her craft more in Poisonwood, but I guess I expected more. Also despite it being a short novel, I wasn't able to read it quickly. The story and style of writing in this reminded me of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, with the Southern-type charm and slight humor, but I actually like Fried Green Tomatoes more. I know the story continues in another book, but I am completely fine ending it right here.

This wouldn't be a highly recommended novel, but I would recommend it for those who want a light read for the summertime or in the dreary months of winter.

l
lukasevansherman
Jul 26, 2014

Kinsgslover's first novel is good, but nowhere near her masterpiece, "The Posionwood Bible." Followed by "Pigs in Heaven."

s
slarsen
Dec 12, 2013

I have yet to be disappointed with a Kingsolver book. Reading BEAN TREES was fun for me because I could relate to so much of Taylor's trip to maturity. Kingsolver seems to have the ability to pull you in and welcomes you to be a character in her story. However, I don't think she can possibly outdo the first two books I read by her: PRODIGAL SUMMER and FLIGHT BEHAVIOR.

e
EPalmer2295
Oct 25, 2013

This is one of my new all-time favorite books. Kingsolver writes in a way that I have never seen any other author do: she is able to mix the diction and structure of small-town, rural language with the most vast and eye opening descriptions. She writes honestly and in a way that I can relate to. This story is heartwarming and full of human struggle, collaboration, family, and friendship. Absolutely wonderful.

shjohnso Oct 25, 2013

Interesting but not great

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Quotes

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kdwaynec Apr 01, 2016

In case of fire, yell "FIRE!"

k
KCWeimer
Jan 24, 2015

Saddness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer

k
kubiak458
Apr 18, 2013

"You from out of town?" he asked after a while, eyeing my car. "No," I said. "I go to Kentucky every year to get my license plate."

c
christinex1
Jul 18, 2012

And so what I promised myself was that I would drive West until my car stopped running, and there I would stay.

Notices

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csrestall
Apr 21, 2016

Sexual Content: Deals with the potential sexual abuse of a minor

c
christinex1
Jul 18, 2012

Coarse Language: a bit

Age

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csrestall
Apr 21, 2016

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Summary

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csrestall
Apr 21, 2016

Taylor Greer decides to leave her small town and drive until she finds somewhere new. On the way she is given a native child which has been abused. They settle in Tucson. This novel deals with their trials and tribulations.

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