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on 14 November 2001
The story involves 3 generations of women, the mother, Alice, the daughter, Tyler, and Tyler's adopted Cherokee daughter, Turtle. As a consequence of appearing on a TV show because Turtle has saved someone's life, all their futures change. This is a brilliant book, not just for the story (which is excellent) but also for the additional information on the American Indian's history and present problems. A brilliant book - with the best ending you will ever read!
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on 16 July 2003
Kingsolver is one of my favourite new discoveries. "The Poisonwood Bible" is so good it hurts, "The Prodigal Summer" oozes great characters and descriptions of both human and animal behaviour that take your breath away. Kingsolver still has her moments of brilliance in this novel; I wanted to copy out the description of Turtle's reaction to being in a plane and make everyone I know read it, but the whole is not as satisfying as many of her other works. "Pigs in Heaven" does not disappoint exactly, but the ironic, intelligent voice of Taylor Greer, which made "The Bean Trees" such a delight is missing, and with it goes much of the charm of the earlier work.
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on 11 May 2001
This is the kind of book that you finish reading and then force on all of your friends. An examination of family, race and belonging as well as a fascinating insight into modern Native American life, this book offers no easy answers to the questions it raises. There are no goodies and baddies, simply people whose views of what is best differ. Proves once again that Barbara Kingsolver is one of America's greatest novelists.
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on 26 October 1999
Although "Pigs in Heaven" follows on from Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees" it stands well on it's own. It's the kind of book which you can't put down; which leaves you wondering about its characters for a long time after you reach the end and which makes you question your own values. When Taylor's adopted daughter Turtle saves the life of a stranger, and gains fame through national television, people start asking questions about her origins. The book leads us through a torrent of questions about the fundamental priorities in life. It shows up essential cultural differences and forces us to think carefully about our assumptions. Which is more important - the individual or the community? Can a child be brought up happily and successfully in a family of a different culture and with no knowledge of her own? What makes family ties? But aside from all of this, "Pigs in heaven" is truly enjoyable and moving story which you will find it hard to tear yourself away from.
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on 7 March 2001
American indians, so often the "bad guys", and despite terrible treatment in the past are shown to have a culture which still has a lot going for it compared with modern day "American" life. Kingsolver, with a wonderful lightness of touch teaches us a lot about tolerance and seeking out the best in competing cultures while giving us a novel which is impossible to put down...a stoy of love, motherhood, family and compassion in unconventional setting way outside the traditional western nuclear family. One of the few American writers whose writing does not jar for an English reader.
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on 30 January 2013
Another eventful book by Kingsolver. It starts in some ways rather comically with Taylor, Turtle, Alice and Jax. In her attempt to do the right thing by another human Taylor unwittingly creates a situation where the blinkered vain tribal lawyer Fourkiller sets out to destroy this little family.
Fourkiller does nothing at all to bring justice to the tribe that allowed the abuse of one of their own children but instead drives the adoptive mother from her home with her daughter.
I am not sure what message Kingsolver was trying to give a racist message but that was the one I got.
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on 20 June 2001
What a wonderful world I had the pleasure of sharing last night. Could not put this down. I read the 2nd half of it last night (until 2am!). Don't bother about the reviews crit'ing the use of Americanese... it suits the characters perfectly! Just buy it straight away. It is truly wonderful.
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Turtle is six years old and through her observational skills she saves the life of a man with learning difficulties. This brings her to the attention of the media and eventually to one of those, in my opinion, nauseating television shows where young children are recognised for their bravery. Because of this fleeting fame Turtle’s life and the circumstances in which she was adopted by her mother Taylor come to the notice of a Cherokee lawyer and Taylor and Turtle have to flee the consequences.

This is a thoughtful book which mainly concentrates on Taylor, her adopted daughter and her mother Alice as well as Annawake the lawyer. None of these people are well off, many of them have made bad life choices in the past, and they are all presented with new opportunities in the course of the book. No one is all good or all bad and most of the characters are slightly quirky. Although it is a feel good novel it isn’t sentimental at all.

This is a book about real families. Families with broken relationships, lapsed friendships, and divided loyalties which all seem very true to life. The characters are all working class and struggle to make ends meet. Many of them have trauma in the past and they all have challenges in the present. I thought that the characters in this book were very realistic and very sympathetic (except perhaps for Barbie who has few redeeming features). The main issue of the book is a complex one and there are no easy answers, although the book does offer a way out in this particular set of circumstances.

I really enjoyed rereading this book. I liked its wry humour and the unusual minor characters. I thought that the author presented the issue well and gave the reader a true understanding of what Annawake was concerned about and why. It’s a very enjoyable read.
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on 1 March 2016
When six-year-old Turtle Greer witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam, her insistence on what she has seen, and her mother's belief in her, lead to a man's dramatic rescue. But Turtle's moment of celebrity draws her into a conflict of historic proportions. The crisis quickly envelops not only Turtle and her mother, Taylor, but everyone else who touches their past lives in a complex web connecting their future with their past.

I'm led to believe that Kingsolver is a literary genius in some people's eyes, and with the success of other novels including 'The Poisonwood Bible', I was itching to see if I would feel the same way about her work as so many others appear to. Sadly, that wasn't to be the case.

Kingsolver seems to be another one of those authors who writes fifty words where ten would suffice. I'm all for painting a mental picture for the reader, but sentences such as: "The Formica countertop is patterned with pink and black loops like rubber bands lying against each other, getting on her nerves, all cocked and ready to spring like hail across the kitchen." are just painful to get through. Yes it's lyrical, but is it necessary to move the story along? In my opinion, no.

Unfortunately I couldn't get past chapter three before admitting defeat. The storyline just didn't hold my attention, I have a feeling I wouldn't have liked the character of Taylor as the book progressed, and the thought of wading through more of Kingsolver's overly wordy text was the last straw. Disappointing as I really wanted to like this, but it obviously wasn't meant to be.
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on 20 August 2003
An insightful work from the other side of the Atlantic. You mean middle class, white Americans aren't ALWAYS 100% right??! This is really thought provoking stuff that makes you realise no side of an argument or belief system ever holds all the answers.
Don't me misled though, this isn't 'worthy' soap box stuff, it's a darned good read, full of sympathetic, three dimensional characters. Read the Bean Trees first though, this is the sequel.
For Ms Kingsolver's real masterpiece, I'd recommend The Poisonwood Bible. Absolutely brilliant.
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