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The Bean Trees Paperback – 1 Mar 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (1 Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034911417X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349114170
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955 and grew up in eastern Kentucky. Her books include poetry, non-fiction and award-winning fiction, and in 1999 she was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for The Poisonwood Bible (recently voted Britain's favourite reading group book). She lives with her husband and daughter in southern Arizona and in the mountains of southern Appalachia.

Product Description

Review

Compelling and very funny (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

A remarkable, enjoyable book ... I'd definitely urge you to read it (New York TIMES)

An astonishing literary debut (COSMOPOLITAN)

Book Description

An enchanting and classic novel of a young woman's voyage of discovery across the Midwest.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 May 2001
Format: Paperback
I discovered Barbara Kingsolver with the Poisonwood Bible (brilliant!) and rushed out to discover more of her work. This time she's abandoned the Belgian congo for Arizona - quite a difference! From page one the characters are instantly alive and interesting. Taylor and Lou-ann particularly are well drawn and engaging. I think most women will see something of themselves in both of them - despite their differences. Strength. Cowardice. Bravery. Tenacity. And human weakness too. The landscapes are well-drawn and encouraged me to get out my atlas to discover more about where the story is set - just as I did with Poisonwood Bible! I understand there's a sequel to Bean Trees and will be seeking it out very soon. A great tale, well told.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Jun 2000
Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading The Bean Trees and loved it. I really cared about Taylor and read on desperately hoping all would go well for her and the baby Turtle. I found myself weeping towards the end and that's not something I do often when reading a book. I am now going to follow it up with Barbara Kingsolver's other novels and feel fortunate to have found an author I like so much.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By felicemorigel VINE VOICE on 2 Mar 2003
Format: Paperback
This has to be one of my all-time favourites - a glorious, life-affirming and thoroughly gripping read. Taylor, who has spent most of her life so far trying not to follow in the footsteps of her peer group by getting pregnant at a young age, finds herself unexpectedly - and, initially, unwillingly - encumbered by an abused baby girl, whom she names Turtle. This rather unlikely premise sets the scene for a riveting, heartwarming road-movie of a novel. The relationship between Taylor and Turtle is one of the most touching I have ever read and the whole novel cannot fail to leave the reader both entertained and moved.
Highly recommended!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cari on 4 Nov 2006
Format: Paperback
I think this is Kingsolver's first book. I read it after The Poisonwood Bible because I had enjoyed that. This is shorter and in many ways lighter. - Set in the southern USA, it is almost a fable, of a young woman leaving her hometown to travel across the US to start a new life with more hope and possibility than in the smalltown, limited environment where she grew up. On the way she is given care of a young child. It is written in the first person and we read how shefinds a place to settle and the people she meets as she creates a life for herself and the child. We learn something of the child's background and the writer learns about herself. It touches on serious issues about refugees, prejudice, hardship, etc and the meaning of family and friendship, but in a light way.

It is a slight novel compared with The Poisonwood Bible, but worth the investment of a few hours. Some parts I suspect will linger in my memory - pleasantly.

I enjoyed this very much and recommend it
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 April 1997
Format: Paperback
I truly enjoyed this book as I have few other lately. It made me laugh out loud and cry as well. Taylor was a remarkable woman. She accepted Turtle, Lou Ann, Mattie, etc. and made these people into a family. She rarely seemed overwhelmed by the calamities and sadness that she encountered, always bringing a refreshing down-to-earth practicality and humor to any situation. She is someone that I would like to know and spend time with as a friend. I thank Ms. Kingsolver for writing such a funny and touching book that took me out of my comfortable world and sat me down in the middle of life (with a capital "L"). I look forward to reading more of her work, especially the sequel. Try this book. It will refresh your soul!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 May 2001
Format: Paperback
The story of an abandoned Native American child and the woman who finds her, this is another magnificent tale of the American family by Barbara Kingsolver. Read this and then Pigs In Heaven. Then buy copies for all of your friends.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on 24 Feb 2006
Format: Paperback
Stories of women overcoming adversity are increasingly common. There's more than a little justice achieved by these tales. Many of them, particularly this work, show how women use their power of community to manage their lives successfully. These stories need to be told, and Kingsolver has given us a fine example. The community theme is superbly demonstrated in Estevan's metaphor of heaven and hell - hell is peopled with those who cannot reach out to others, starving in a kitchen full of food.
Lou Ann and "Taylor" are fellow Kentuckian exiles living in Tucson. The relocation has bought unexpected challenges to their lives. Not the least of these is the additional burden of infants: Lou Ann's by an unwanted pregnancy and Taylor's by an abandonment. What does it say about women that Taylor makes no attempt to off-load Turtle to a state agency, but keeps her to raise. Kingsolver evokes the reader's sympathy for both Taylor and Lou Ann, although both are in situations of their own making. Mattie, too, might have been given greater role, particularly since she provides so many fundamental changes in Taylor's life.
Kingsolver's character development makes wonderful reading. Occasionally, her descriptive powers overcome her characterization and Taylor waxes rather more eloquent than her background and education [which is almost entirely self-taught] would warrant. It's easy to forgive these lapses in light of how well she relates the story. Throughout the book i wondered why only Taylor speaks in the first person. A dual viewpoint of characters and events might have given this story more depth.
Estevan and his wife, Esperanza, are Guatemalan refugees.
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