The Sony Reader Book Club will be holding its 2nd Book Club discussion next Wednesday, January 16th at 12:30pm on Facebook. The book for this month’s chat is Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, and she’ll be joining the discussion LIVE, so all you Kingsolver fans, be sure to join us!
I read the book on my trusty Sony Reader over my Xmas holiday, and I will admit to you it took me a while to get into it. Maybe I can blame the crazy business of the holiday season, but I’ve privately heard a few others say the same thing. It was slow to take a hold of me, but once it did, I was hooked.
I grew incredibly concerned for the main character, Dellarobia, and her children and her life on a small sheep farm in the South, the more I read. Her life in “farmland poverty” was so well described and so touching, I felt my own life and socio-economic level coming into sharp focus. Especially at Christmastime, when excess rules, whether it should or not.
There’s a scene in the book where Dellarobia and her husband are shopping at the 99-cent store for Christmas gifts for their kids and it’s heartbreaking when they realize they have to put back the items they can’t afford. At the 99-cent store.
The backdrop for the story is the fact that Monarch butterflies have landed en masse on the land where Dellarobia’s family has their farm, which is not normal, not good for the butterflies, and which re-sets the course of everyone’s lives in the story.
The cause of the butterflies’ re-location from Mexico to Appalachia is placed squarely on the back of global warming, and I remember when the book was first published that many felt it was an awfully heavy yoke to throw on a novel’s back and expect it to survive. But survive it does.
I liked the political nature of the backdrop, which I think added an element of tension between the characters. The relationship between husband and wife was never going to be the same once the butterflies came, because Dellarobia’s personal emancipation also began at that point, and she never looked back.
There was also a fascinating social-political aspect to the story, with the “poor farm folks” pitted against the “bourgeoisie intellectual greenies” to see who had the environment’s best interests at heart. The most wonderful scene that demonstrates this takes place between Dellarobia and an overly earnest man who’s come down to make people aware of the ways they can help save the environment in little ways each day, especially, as he says, “You people here need to get on board, the same as everyone else. If not more so.”
He goes on to let her know all these ways she’s probably wasting money & resources, none of which Dellarobia does because of her economic situation, not because of her politics. I loved that. It was such a great image of tone-deaf evangelism.
I will admit I had trouble relating at first to Dellarobia, with whom I seemed to have nothing in common. But then the aspects of her life that were exactly like mine became clear and endeared her to me: she was stuck at home with two small children, as I felt I was at times as a new Mom, her Mother-in-Law was occasionally challenging to deal with, something many of us can relate to, and that she had such an active dream to do more and have more in her life than she had.
So ultimately, I highly recommend the book! And I want to give a plug for reading it on the Sony Reader, which I really find easy to use (meaning the buttons are easy to press and it was easy to figure out), light enough to hold in bed, which is where I do most of my reading, and I love the sleek design, too.
Stay tuned – the next book we’re reading is Michael Connelly’s latest in the Harry Bosch series – The Black Box – discussion coming in February! The Black Box, Flight Behavior, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, and the 4th book (coming up in March), Molly Ringwald’s When it Happens To You are all available for purchase through the Sony Reader Store.
I am a member of the Sony Reader Book Club VIPs and a Sony VIP Mom, and as such, I received a copy of the books we’re reading as well as a Sony Reader & cover.