Wednesday, June 5, 2013

BOOK: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, 436 pages

Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly Orange Prize) shortlist 2013

 Flight Behavior, State of Wonder, Intuition: a trifecta of Orange nominated, well written, science based books. Something also about their readability - not character driven, not particularly plot driven, but characters grow and change, and there is a page-turning aspect to the plot - what will happen next? I didn't loove any of the three, and yet, I quite enjoyed reading each of them, and found them very engaging.

Kingsolver (of The Poisonwood Bible fame) writes this one closer to home - the mountains of Appalacia, and her environmental concerns. The last Kingsolver I read was Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, her non-fiction account of living strictly off her own land, self-sufficiently.

Plot - Monach butterflies appear on a Tennessee hill destined for clear-cutting, which would provide some much needed money. Dellarobia, the married at 17, stay at home mother of two, has been feeling stifled, and becomes involved in the butterflies when the scientists come to study them. The book is maninly Dellarobia, and her growth and self-examination. You cheer for Dellarobia as you read, hoping for her to find what she needs in her life, to stretch her intellect, and reach her potential.

Best part - a guy who comes to hand out leaflets (the mountain becomes quite a magnet for all types of protesters) for ways to lower a person's carbon footprint. As he explains all the tips to Dellarobia, the conceit of the rich and middle-class who need these tips to assail their guilt at the damage to the environment becomes laughable.
ex) take tupperware to restaurants to take home your left-overs (Dellarobia hasn't been to a restaurant in two years)
- carry a nalgene bottle instead of buying bottled water (Dellarobia would never buy water, too poor)
- reduce intake of red meat (Dellarobia is trying to increase her family's eating of red meat instead of KD, and she doesn't have a freezer)
- try to buy reused items (Dellarobia laughed at this one - she has no new items of clothes)
- switch to socially responsible stocks and investments
- make sure computers get recycled (Dellarobia doesn't have a computer - guy looks shocked)
he ends with - fly less. Less? she says.