Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review: Flight Behavior

Flight Behavior
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have a lot of respect for Barbara Kingsolver as a writer and as an activist. I really wanted to read this book despite not knowing what it was about, and perhaps that was for the best.

I live in New York City and would consider myself a fervent liberal, and the setting (Bible Belt) and characters (for the most part, under-educated conservatives who misquote the Bible)immediately put me off. But I trusted Kingsolver and kept reading. I'm so glad.

Dellarobia is in her late twenties, stuck in an unhappy marriage with two kids, and not much to look forward to. In an attempt to escape her reality through an affair, she encounters a forest filled with monarch butterflies, which Kingsolver compares to Moses seeing the burning bush in the Old Testament. She is moved and determines to try making her marriage and life work.

This book follows Dellarobia as she starts to navigate who she really is and what she really wants in a community that doesn't like to ask a lot of questions. Dellarobia finds that, much like the misplaced butterflies who ought to have been in Mexico, not Tennessee, she is out of tune and dying in an unsuitable environment.

This was a beautifully written story in so many ways. The parallels are exceptional, and Kingsolver has such a strong voice. Did I connect with the characters and setting? No, but that isn't what makes a good book a good book, is it? Kingsolver effectively writes about global warming, consumerism, and what it is to be stuck in poverty.

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