Flight Behavior CD: Flight Behavior CD [ FLIGHT BEHAVIOR CD: FLIGHT BEHAVIOR CD ] By Kingsolver, Barbara ( Author )Nov-06-2012 Compact Disc
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Audio Download, Unabridged
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Mirroring the development of Dellarobia (not helped by being portrayed as a "poor white girl" named with such a pretentious title) with the struggles of the butterflies was a good choice. She sounded knowledgeable on the scientific details of the butterflies and climate change ( too much so at times). There was humour to lighten the load ("like a beach vacation minus the beach, and the vacation"). Some characters were portrayed with a range of redeeming features. The picture of a small, farming community struggling with paying the basic bills was harsh and believable.
But ....descriptions were over-long especially where the author wants to share her own thoughts . Too much read like a one-sided lecture. And there was too much sentimentality in the huge changes of D over the course of the book. Pretty quickly she seemed a shallow and unlikeable character, willing to leave her children and run off with a bloke she barely knew. Next minute, she is a competent, intelligent, loving mother who deserves sympathy for her poor start in life and unfortunate fall into an early marriage and her children's "racked sobs that wrenched her will for living". One minute they are dirt-poor ("as if shopping for previously-chewed meals", the next she is sharing the lamb Hester has just given them with Ovid and his wife - assuming they want to spend their time with her family and considering they had been parted for quite a while that is dubious - and then "crammed the leftovers into plastic boxes wedged into the refrigerator" as food is over-flowing! This narrator living in this limited community uses language that is not credible: "wherever she looked she saw their aggregations on the dwindling emergent places ............" For me, this kind of nonsense devalues what the story is meant to be sharing. Likewise, Hester is nasty: but she offers an "excuse" for her frustrations which sits weakly. Preston unsurprisingly shows an interest in science: he is 5 - there is no reason to believe he will follow this through and actually become a "scientist"! He was far too single-minded and serious at 5.
Having read the Lacuna and felt it turgid, despite a lot of good content, I think this is the style of BK. She needs to have a firmer editor!
Dellarobia Turnbow is trapped in a dull marriage and is mother to two small children. She is bright but was unable to take advantage of educational opportunities when she was at school. Her whole life changes when she goes up a mountain on their farm and discovers a sea of orange fire – this turns out to be millions of Monarch butterflies who have had their migration pattern upset and are now off course. Dellarobia gains (unwanted) social media fame as people come to see this awesome sight. One visitor is Ovid Byron, an African American etymologist who stays on the Turnbow’s farm with a small research team.
This is a turning point in Dellarobia’s life as she learns more and more about the butterflies and how the environment can be fatally affected by outside events.
Flight Behaviour is a stunning novel. The plot unfolds beautifully and the characters are incredibly well drawn. There is Della’s bitter mother-in-law Hester, her lummox of a husband Cub, her loyal best friend Dovey and the generous spirited church minister Bobby. Barbara Kingsolver has a brilliant eye for detail and Dellarobia exhibits a sharp wit throughout the book. When an environmental campaigner asks Dellarobia to sign a pledge to reduce her energy use she expresses puzzlement. She has no computer to leave on stand-by, she can rarely afford red meat, she can’t afford to drive far, she buys secondhand clothes and she has never been on a plane.
Just as we find out about the life cycle of butterflies, we see Dellarobia on her own cycle of turning into something admirable. The title “Flight Behaviour” could refer to the butterflies or to our heroine’s own life choices.
I hope I haven’t made this sound too didactic. It is a perceptive book which is very funny in parts.
One of the best books I have read all year – highly recommended.
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