The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees

A Novel

Book - 1998
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From the Publisher: Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on. By the time Taylor arrives in Tucson, Arizona, she has acquired a completely unexpected child, a three-year-old American Indian girl named Turtle, and must somehow come to terms with both motherhood and the necessity for putting down roots. Hers is a story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, 1998
Edition: 10th anniversary ed
ISBN: 9780060175795
0060175796
Branch Call Number: FICTION KINGSOLVE 1998
Characteristics: 261 p. ; 22 cm

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From Library Staff

By the time Taylor Greer reaches Oklahoma, this strong-willed young Kentucky native with a quick tongue and an open mind is catapulted into a surprising new life. (1988)

From the Publisher: Clear-eyed and spirited, Taylor Greer grew up poor in rural Kentucky with the goals of avoiding pregnancy and getting away. But when she heads west with high hopes and a barely functional car, she meets the human condition head-on.

A story about love and friendship, abandonment and belonging, and the discovery of surprising resources in apparently empty places.

Kingsolver's fiction features strong women who carve out places for themselves in new communities. In The Bean Trees, Taylor Greer hits the road wanting only to get as far away from Kentucky as possible, ending up in Arizona with a 3-year-old Cherokee girl she has inherited from a woman in a bar.


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c
csrestall
Apr 21, 2016

I read this book as a novel study for one of my students it was better than I anticipated. I enjoyed the characters and story lines. I enjoyed seeing the characters develop from the beginning to end. It was a simple read and enjoyable.

kdwaynec Apr 01, 2016

I picked this up a few years ago, needing 'anything' to read and found it to be much better than I had expected. Very funny in places and I'll try another by Kingsolver, maybe Pigs because it sounds like Part II

lbarkema Nov 02, 2015

This was a sweet story, no doubt. But there wasn't as much substance to it as I was hoping there would be after reading The Poisonwood Bible. I know this was her first novel as opposed to when she had developed her craft more in Poisonwood, but I guess I expected more. Also despite it being a short novel, I wasn't able to read it quickly. The story and style of writing in this reminded me of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, with the Southern-type charm and slight humor, but I actually like Fried Green Tomatoes more. I know the story continues in another book, but I am completely fine ending it right here.

This wouldn't be a highly recommended novel, but I would recommend it for those who want a light read for the summertime or in the dreary months of winter.

l
lukasevansherman
Jul 26, 2014

Kinsgslover's first novel is good, but nowhere near her masterpiece, "The Posionwood Bible." Followed by "Pigs in Heaven."

s
slarsen
Dec 12, 2013

I have yet to be disappointed with a Kingsolver book. Reading BEAN TREES was fun for me because I could relate to so much of Taylor's trip to maturity. Kingsolver seems to have the ability to pull you in and welcomes you to be a character in her story. However, I don't think she can possibly outdo the first two books I read by her: PRODIGAL SUMMER and FLIGHT BEHAVIOR.

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EPalmer2295
Oct 25, 2013

This is one of my new all-time favorite books. Kingsolver writes in a way that I have never seen any other author do: she is able to mix the diction and structure of small-town, rural language with the most vast and eye opening descriptions. She writes honestly and in a way that I can relate to. This story is heartwarming and full of human struggle, collaboration, family, and friendship. Absolutely wonderful.

shjohnso Oct 25, 2013

Interesting but not great

ChristchurchLib Aug 20, 2013

"First published 15 years ago, The Bean Trees was Barbara Kingsolver's first novel. It tells the story of a poor Kentucky woman determined to make a better life for herself. While headed west, Taylor is approached by a Cherokee woman, who leaves a baby in the passenger seat of her car. Moved by the baby's fierce grip, Taylor names her "Turtle;" they begin a new life together in Tucson, where Taylor's car eventually breaks down. An "overwhelming delight" (Publishers Weekly) despite themes of child abuse and other social ills, this tale of creating a family out of nothing was followed by a sequel, Pigs in Heaven." August 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=667162

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erinsnest
Jul 05, 2013

Well it was a toss up between this book and "The Help". Read a chapter from both, couldn't decide which was better, so went with this one first, as it was shorter! Started it June 30, 2013......July 4, almost finished, a great book and my favorite Kingsolver so far. (Others by her that I have read are Lacuna and The Poisenwood Bilble)....Oh, just read the other comments, and found that "Pigs in Heaven" is a sequel to this one....guess I'll be reading that soon!.......July 8, 2013, just finished this today, got to listening to a talking book ("The Water is Wide," by Pat Conroy) on the 6th, so didn't really "read" that day. Thoroughly enjoyed this book. A great read, but it did kind of wrap up kind of quickly.

JCLBeckyC Jun 28, 2013

Even though this novel was written over twenty years ago, its humanist theme is timeless, and its depiction of how our country treats outsiders is as relevant as ever. That Kingsolver has wrapped up such a serious message in the package of a quick, surprisingly funny read is amazing.

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Quotes

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kdwaynec Apr 01, 2016

In case of fire, yell "FIRE!"

k
KCWeimer
Jan 24, 2015

Saddness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer

k
kubiak458
Apr 18, 2013

"You from out of town?" he asked after a while, eyeing my car. "No," I said. "I go to Kentucky every year to get my license plate."

c
christinex1
Jul 18, 2012

And so what I promised myself was that I would drive West until my car stopped running, and there I would stay.

Notices

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c
csrestall
Apr 21, 2016

Sexual Content: Deals with the potential sexual abuse of a minor

c
christinex1
Jul 18, 2012

Coarse Language: a bit

Age

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csrestall
Apr 21, 2016

csrestall thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Summary

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csrestall
Apr 21, 2016

Taylor Greer decides to leave her small town and drive until she finds somewhere new. On the way she is given a native child which has been abused. They settle in Tucson. This novel deals with their trials and tribulations.

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