Book Review “The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver

I just finished the book “The Bean Trees” by Barbara Kingsolver.

This book is touching, and adventurous. I highly recommend it.

It is about a young lady growing up in slow paced, behind the times, in rural Kentucky. This book took places in late 70’s to early 80’s, but when Marietta was in Kentucky is sounded like 40’s and 50’s.

Marietta Greer is a strong willed teenager in high school, who was determined to not get pregnant while in school, like many of her classmates.

She got a job in the local hospital by her teacher. She was in a sense made for more than what rural Kentucky has for her, and she was above the times for Kentucky.

When she graduated she got a car, and took off. She decided to go as far west as her car would take her. She changed her name to Taylor Greer.

Her car broke down in Oklahoma in Cherokee land. She was also quarter Cherokee. She went into a bar to get something to eat and some coffee because she was exhausted from driving. There was a older lady with a blanket on her in the car. The older lady followed Taylor out to the bar and when Taylor got into her car, the older lady sat in her passengers seat and revealed that she has a three year old child under her blanket. The older lady told Taylor to take the child, because it was her dead sisters child.

She didn’t know what to do with this little girl. She was petrified, she didn’t know what to do with this little girl.

She stayed in a hotel, and worked to earn her stay, she has an agreement with the two lady’s that owned the hotel. She gave the three year old “Turtle” is what she named her, a bath and realized that she sexually abuse.

Taylor got her car fixed and drove off. She ended up in Tucson, Arizona. She met a lady who had an alignment shop. She was a very nice, welcoming older lady. She fed Turtle and very good with kids.

Turtle didn’t speak and just stared off into the distance, she was traumatized but later on she would come out of her shell and start talking and being social.

She finds a room mate Lou Ann. Lou Ann’s husband has just left her with an infant son. Lou Ann is always from Kentucky. They get a long very well.

Taylor gets a job at the tire store, where she first broke down. She meets Esperanza and Estevan whom are in America to escape the Central America’s government whom took their daughter away from them, who Turtle resembles.

Taylor had a run in with the social worker, and she was going to get Turtle taken away from her so she, being the strong will that she is, drove to Cherokee Nation with Turtle, Esperanza and Estevan. She was going to get adoption papers and take Esperanza and Estevan to a safe house at a church for immigrants.

So they drive to Oklahoma, and they take a one day vacation. Then they go to the notary, to get adoption papers. This wasn’t easy to do, she was nervous, and the odds of her getting custody of Turtle.

Taylor, being intelligent and witty comes up with a plan. She told Esperanza and Estevan to dress poorly to pretend that Turtle was their child, and that they cannot care for her and were too poor to feed her. They play it off very well and she gets her custody papers!!!!

This was very suspenseful, full of adventure and touching.

Turtle was obsessed with plants and gardening. Her first word was beans. Bean trees is another word for a Wisteria plant, and symbolized that it can grow regardless of what it has been through.




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