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Friday, February 02, 2007

Missy, aka Taylor, Greeg leaves Kentucky. She had two goals in life -- to avoid early pregnancy and to get away from her small town. Both of those happen, with help from a mother who always believed in her, even when reason wouldn't have. Taylor works hard, has a bit of luck, and is able to buy a car which she plans to drive until it runs down and stay there. At a diner in Oklahoma, a little girl is given to her -- so she becomes a mother of sorts. Taylor and the girl (Turtle) end up at a place called "Jesus is Lord Used Tires" in Arizona, a place run by a woman named Mattie. Mattie lives deeply in reality, and still makes time to care for those who are hurting around her. And Taylor manages to 'find' a woman, named Lou Ann, who wants a housemate. They both have young children, are both from Arizona, both finding the strength to live in today, and able to speak honestly with one another.

Hope is a strong theme in this book. Turtle is given to Taylor, and it is clear that her life was not good before she was given away. Yet this little girl who has been so hurt is growing up with hope. She learns the names of all sorts of vegetables and flowers and growing things. Plants which are growing and green and full of life. A little girl who doesn't speak much (at first) learns words which bring her joy. There is also hope in the form of a young couple who are staying over the "Jesus is Lord" garage. Their names are Estevan and Esperanza, and they are Guatemalans running from some form of persecution. The bits and pieces of their story that the reader gets are painful. But they are still alive and safe. Esperanza is quiet and lost in her pain, but Turtle is able to draw her out and together they have some beautiful moments. Even a woman who has had lost those she loves deeply and has no 'home' can find pleasure and reasons to smile in today. A good read.

Title:The Bean Trees
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Date published:1988
Genre: Fiction
Number of pages: 232


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