Sunday, January 20, 2013

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver


After finishing this one, I'm officially ready to call Barbara Kingsolver a favorite author. I really should have put her on that list after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle as that book pretty much changed my life. Now I've read that book, a collection of her essays, and this, my first work of fiction by her. It surpassed (WAY surpassed) any expectations I had of what she'd produce as a novelist. The experience was made even better by listening to her read the story to me as I listened to the audio book of this one. She has a fantasic reading voice and tells her own story with so much passion and feeling behind every phrase.

What Kingsolver wrote with Flight Behavior is sort of an instant classic in my opinion. It's a book that's so much bigger than it's pages. The story itself is about a woman in a small, remote town who lives on a farm with her husband who she married out of wedlock and feels constrained and limited by the box that she's been placed in. One day, while going off to possibly throw everything away by having an affair she sees the trees on their property seemingly on fire, but soon learns that the orange covering the trees is actually thousands of monarch butterflies.

The butterflies draw attention to the town and stir things up, not just in the town but for our main character's life as she begins to see possibilites for a future and on a grander scale as the butterflies should not be here. They should be in Mexico where they normally go to overwinter.

This story is beautiful. It's heartwrenching at times. It's full of life, full of questions. And it raises huge concerns about our climate and it's current drastic changing and the effects that it's currently having on our ecosystems and the animals that inhabit it. This book is not a challenging book to read. I want to say that before I make this next statement because I don't want to scare people off from reading it because I honestly feel that EVERYONE should read this book. But I feel like an entire college semester could be taught on this book. And that it should. There are so many layers to this book and so many amazing things to talk about that I want to go on about forever here, but unfortunately I'm at work right now writing this review and can't :p But I did want to get a post up to tell you to read. this. book.

Climate change. Finding growth where you didn't know it was possible. Finding hope where there wasn't any. Getting outside of the box you've put yourself in. Not letting stereotypes define you. It's all in this book and so much more.

11 comments:

Bookfool said...

Yep to everything you said. Love, love loved this book!

Cath said...

I'll put it on my list to look for at the library. I think it's set in eastern Tennessee? So I could read it for my southern literature challenge. It certainly sounds like it would be one hell of a good addition to my list. I've only read one book by Barbara Kingsolver and that's The Poisonwood Bible. I was bowled over by it and it's on my list of favourite books ever. Thanks for the tip-off about this one, Chris!

DesLily said...

its always "oh so great" to feel fantastic when we finish a great book...the downside is the next read living up to what we just read!.. but I wouldn't change a thing and loose that "great read"!! I am happy for you that you found this book! I hope she never disappoints you!

Marg said...

I loved The Poisonwood Bible but haven't actually read anything else by her yet. I really, really should~

Vasilly said...

I loved Kingsolver's collection of essays and The Bean Trees. I'm going to add this to my reading list. Great review, Chris.

Gavin said...

Great review, Chris. Can't wait to get this one from my library.

Susan said...

Oh if you loved this, you have to read Prodigal Summer by her! It is so good too. I loved it when I read it a few years ago. So now I'm going to look for this one. Monarch butterflies, climate change, love, and constraint. Yep, I can identify already! lol

Isn't it fabulous when an author writes in a way that moves you so deeply?

Debi said...

Okay, you're going to make it hard for me to wait until "nature" month, aren't you?!!

Ali said...

I just started this book, this morning. I was worried in chapter one because it was starting off super slow for me, but I kept going only because it was Barbara Kingsolver, and I'm settling into it. It's nice when you've read enough of an author's books to trust that they know where they're going.

Rich said...

Now I really want this book...bad. Since I'm at the library right now, I'm going to go see if they have it!

Carole said...

Hi there, the February edition of Books You Loved is open for entries. Here is the link Books You Loved February Edition Please do pop by and link in a post about a book/s you loved. Maybe this post? Have a great week.