The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver is set in Tucson Arizona. Taylor Greer is from a poor rural part of Kentucky also known as Pittman County, a place where girls grow up to get pregnant at 17 and the boys grow up to harvest tobacco and pick bugs off bean vines. Taylor longs for something better. When a handsome Paul McCartney look-a-like offers her a job at the local hospital and she takesit. She works at the hospital for five years taking each adventure as it comes including the shooting of a fellow classmate and his wife. But when she saves enough money to buy an old Volkswagen Beetle with no windows and a broken clutch, she heads west. Along her way she suffers a broken rocker arm ( a part of the steering in a car). In Oklahoma she pulls over to get it fixed by a man named Bob Two Two. As she prepares to leave an Indian woman gives her a baby. Taylor’s initial reaction was to say " if I wanted a baby I would of stayed in Kentucky I could have had babies coming out my ears’." However, she takes the baby, who is really a three year old little girl, and names it Turtle because she takes hold of people and things like a mud turtle. When she reaches Tucson she takes up work at the local burger derby only to be fired a week later. Moving in with Lou Ann Ruiz she settles into a new life as a mom. She begins working at a used tire place that doubles as a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.
Overall the book expresses the importance of leaving to start your own life. The main theme of The Bean Trees is you don’t have to follow the path in life someone else has set for you. You are free to make your own choices.
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"A warmhearted and highly entertaining first novel in which a poor but plucky Kentucky girl . . . arrives at surprising new meanings for love, friendship, and family."–Kirkus Reviews Barbara Kingsolver has an engaging, neighborly writing style. She creates characters that you can believe in and want to get to know. The Bean Trees is at times witty, at others heartwrenching and always absorbing. It is a story of the coincidences and choices of life that bring miracles, friendships and community where we might least expect to find them.
The story revolves around Taylor Greer a young woman who leaves her home in rural Kentucky and heads west in a 55′ Volkswagen. On her way throught Oklahoma a Cherokee woman begs here to take a three year old child away with her. Taylor calls her "Turtle" because of the way she hangs like a mud turtle. Together Turtle and Taylor arrive in Tucson, Arizona where they begin to belong in a group of unlikely everyday folks building hope out of desparate circumstances.
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