Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Publisher: Harper Perrenial Reprint, June 2013
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: The Publisher
My Rating: A+
Dellarobia Turnbull is a 27-year-old farm wife and mother of two young children. Ever since she became pregnant and married at 17, Dellarobia has been floating through her life taking whatever comes along. Her father and mother-in-law own the land and Dellarobvia and her husband pretty much do what they’re told.
One day Dellarobia flees up the mountain behind the farm, intending to run away from her life. When she reaches the top of the mountain the sight she sees makes her change her mind. As she stands on top of the mountain she observes what looks to her like tongues of fire without the smoke or heat. This experience changes Dellarobia’s life.
What Dellarobia, and the community, discovers is that all that red-orange on top of the mountain is thousands of Monarch butterflies who are way off track with their annual migration. Once everyone gets past their amazement, the controversy begins. Environmentalists, anti-global warming theorists, TV journalists, etc. come to the farm and turn their world upside down.
When a scientist and his team arrive, Dellarobia helps in a variety of ways and in return she gets an amazing on-the-spot education. Dellarobia and her five-year-old son begin to see possibilities in their lives beyond the farm.
I addition to Dellarobia’s wonderful story, there are a number of issues that are seriously examined. The challenges of global warming are seen in the “flight behavior” of the Monarch butterflies who are thrown off course by the changes in weather.
Although the Monarchs arrival in Eastern Tennessee is fictional, it’s not outside the realm of believability. There were a few paragraphs that could have been edited out to make it less “preachy” but, the message clearly came through to me. I’d hate to see those spectacular creatures become extinct.
Ms. Kingsolver also examined the subjects of living at the poverty level, consumerism, the quality of education in small town communities, and a good look at marriage. When you read a Barbara Kingsolver novel you really get your money’s worth. Her stories have always touched my heart but, they also made me think about important current issues troubling our world. She makes me think long after the last page.
Recommend? Absolutely. Don’t miss this one.