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on 8 November 2014
Millions of Monarch butterflies mysteriously find their way to the Appalachian hills on the Turnbow family's property to form the backbone of this wonderful story and Dellarobia Turnbow's burgeoning relationship with this flame-coloured phenomenon and its caretakers - from Dr Ovid Byron right through to her son, Preston - lies at its heart. Kingsolver unravels a poignant and beautifully crafted story of discovery and I found myself drawn irresistibly into both the plight at the centre of the book and the various characters' dreams of something more emerging towards its conclusion. Five out of five stars.
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on 19 July 2013
Barbara Kingsolver is an excellent writer - she can make me read books about things that don't appeal. Flight Behaviour is just such a book - it is centred on Dellarobia Turnbow a young mother trapped by poverty and lack of education in a grim life on an East Tennessee farm deep in the bible belt, when Monarch butterflies suddenly appear her world turns upside down. Kingsolver draws you in beautifully through well drawn characters and some fabulous turns of phrase. She also manages to build a grim unsympathetic character and then in a few words completely change your view. It is a book that has many themes - the effect of poverty (in cash terms and educationally), the precarious nature of life in the goldilocks zone, the media and even perceptions of bible belt republicans.
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on 11 July 2013
I found the story a bit slow to get going (will she ever get up that mountain?) but once into it, and having met and started to get to know the characters, it was from then on in, highly enjoyable. top quality writing and story-telling, such a strong sense of place you feel you know it and the people too. And a strong eco- message for everyone. Nothing is more important in todays world of over-population and resource depletion/pollution/climate change than that EVERYONE acts NOW to literally save our planet. 5 mins on you tube will show you that quite literally - the human race could be extinct in just 50 years if we don't change our ways and rapidly reduce all consumption of consumer goods, and cease or reduce livestock farming which is the primary cause of climate change. Enjoy the book - then get eco.
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on 3 March 2014
As with many Barbara Kingsolver books, too drawn out,too many words.The plight of the Monarch Butterflies survival was interestingly portrayed.This wonderful creature deserves to be protected and this book helped to highlight how vulnerable it's life has become.Global warming and Climate change.are the key messages throughout the story.
Delarobia is the main character who grows and develops throughout the book and tries to convince her Family and the local community that what they do to their surroundings directly affects the future of the Nation and the planet,and the survival of the Monarch Butterfly.
Parts of the book are brilliant-some really good passages stand out from the page....
My favourite character is her young son Preston and his enthuiasm for nature and science.
I found the ending was unpredictable and a bit disappointing.
Overall the book is too long and too much description spoils the overall impression.
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on 23 January 2015
Barbara Kingsolver never disappoints! I always feel so safe when I read any of her books, because I know I am going to become entranced, AND learn something! I remember reading reviews of this book when it first came out, and I'm afraid I put off reading it for ages because I mistakenly thought it was a tome to global warning etc It isn't! There's a deep story woven through international issues, and yet she still makes them relevent, and so local. High school kids would do well to read this. Love. It. Would've given it 10 stars if I could.
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on 31 May 2013
A huge metaphor on these pages. So much wrong with the world and our environment and so much wrong with the lives of ordinary people. Looking for fixes is what we do but sometimes there are none to be found. Barbara K's characters, particularly her main female character, Dellarobia kicks against the ordinary life she has created for herself and then she sees the butterflies. Everything changes: for good for bad; for better for worse. We are swept along as she is herself, discovering family secrets and the secret lives of others. She tries to make sense of things beyond her understanding and learns the hard facts which might, in the end, make a difference.
A brilliant story which I would recommend to all discerning readers.
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on 22 January 2015
This would have been a reasonably average tale of a wife and her frustration with the life she has. However, Kingsolver uses it to pontificate about global warming. I could live with that, but not the science - page after page after page of it. After a while I started skipping the interminable, boring stuff. I see the note about the author says she's a scientist. Well, here's some advice for you Barbara - when you write fiction leave the science at home.
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on 8 September 2013
It starts slowly - and the opening chapter finds you wondering why you should care about this woman and her apparently trivial life but you read on, intrigued about why what she sees matters.

By the end of the book you are desperate to meet Delarobia and be her friend; you want to wrap your arms around her community, small-town and all; you care about the world in a way that no documentary has ever made you feel. It is such a powerful book and gets its 'message' across more powerfully than Oryx & Crake by Margaret Attwood - because the characters and the situation seem utterly real.

However, I do believe that only people who have known poverty will actually understand Delarobia and her community - those most likely to read this book won't ever know the real agony of having no choices, being unable to make plans, forever being grateful to others. Although the book has far wider themes than families in poverty it is only through empathy with those people that you reach the real meanings.

Definitely one for the book club - provided the members are real people and not just pseudo academics.
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on 30 June 2016
I loved this book. It's modern and written with flair and humour and pathos, with exceptional insight into the human psyche. One of those books you simply have to keep reading until you find out what happens!
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on 30 October 2015
I happened to tune in to a R4 book programme at the moment a guest was reading the opening to their current favourite book and instantly recognised it was from 'Flight Behaviour', which I was halfway through at the time; I'm an avid reader, and rarely remember the first paragraph so vividly. This striking, tense start signals yet another very original and compelling novel from Barbara Kingsolver, who reveals big stories through beautifully crafted characters' smaller ones. This time it's the effect of global warming on Monarch butterflies in contemporary Tennessee ('The Poisonwood Bible' - on my top 10 list - set in1959 Belgium Congo, reveals a poignant chapter in African history). However, for me, Dellarobia (the protagonist) is perhaps the most likeable and real modern fictional heroine, and will remain in my imagination alongside Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse and Offred.
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