BOOKS REMAINING: 48
CURRENT BOOK: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
I am enjoying this novel well enough that I may read others by Kingsolver after this project is over. However, over the first few days of reading it I have still been waiting for the plot to come together.
The novel begins with Missy, who later chooses the name Taylor, who grows up in a small town in Kentucky, and despite her closeness to her mother, always has the goal of leaving town as soon as she saves up enough for a vehicle. She focuses on keeping her nose to the grindstone because she doesn’t want to get tied down by becoming pregnant, which she sees happening to many of her acquaintances. Finally, she makes a connection during high school and works in the lab at the hospital until she can afford a “hoopty car.” Not long after, she leaves town with the intention of stopping whenever the car gives out and making a new life there. She heads West.
If I wanted a baby I would have stayed in Kentucky…I could have had babies coming out my ears by now.
When Taylor makes a stop while driving though a reservation, a Native American woman apparently randomly gives Taylor a baby girl who was the child of the woman’s dead sister. Taylor isn’t quite sure what to do (this novel was published in 1988 and that may have been before Safe Haven laws), but she keeps the baby and pushes West until she reaches Tucson and her tires give out. Since she can’t afford new ones, she leaves her vehicle at a shop called Jesus is Lord Used Tires and sets out to find lodging and work in Tuscon. The locals are generally welcoming and helpful to her.
Meantime, Lou Ann another young woman originally from Kentucky now living in Tuscon, who has an infant son, is going through a divorce from her disabled husband whom her judgmental family didn’t approve of in the first place. She advertises for a roommate, and finally on page 75 the women meet when Taylor answers the ad. While Taylor is initially just relieved that Lou Ann is more “normal” than other people who had advertised for roommates, the two women quickly find common ground and happily agree that Taylor will share Lou Ann’s home.
I am interested to see how the story will develop, as it seems to have been a bit slow to get started, but I expect Taylor and Lou Ann will form a close and supportive friendship, whatever direction their lives end up taking.