Tomato and Garlic painting by DJ Geribo

For more than a year I’ve had a pile of Barbara Kingsolver’s books sitting on a small table next to a couch in my living room. My intention, of course, was to read one, at least. Years ago, an acquaintance read “The Poisonwood Bible” and raved about it. It was a Pulitzer finalist. But it was a little too dense for me to take on at this point (I’m a slow(er) reader since I have to read every word) but I wanted to check out one of her novels. The novel “The Bean Trees” seemed to have the right number of pages so I decided to read that one. I also found out that this was her debut novel. So, while learning something about Ms. Kingsolver’s writing, I’m also going to feel intimidated and insignificant with my writing and accomplishments.

Putting my insecurities aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and the story that Ms. Kingsolver told in “The Bean Trees”. Without giving too much away, a young woman strikes out on her own and finds herself the recipient of a child, not more than 2 years old, because as she was told by the child’s aunt, the mother had died. She finds herself in an environment where people are more than generous with their time and resources. Along the way she learns to become a mother to the orphaned baby, with the help of her new friends and neighbors.

There are many adventures, most not so dramatic but certainly serving as deep learning experiences for the young woman. And now I’m thinking that “The Poisonwood Bible” isn’t so much a book to feel anxious about for the number of pages, but a book to absorb and, again, enjoy.

I rate “The Bean Trees” 4 out of 5 stars.