I've been a fan of Kingsolver for a while and I looked forward to another fiction story from her.
This is the story of Dellarobia Turnbow, a country girl, married in haste, sharing property in the Appalachian mountains with her in-laws, consumed with caring for her two children and unsatisfied with life. While escaping to a potential trist, she witnesses millions of monarch butterflies that have landed in the forest above her home. The discovery makes her a local celebrity and provides the backdrop for a lesson in climate change.
It takes the first few chapters to figure out what she's seen and her initial interpretation of it as "flames" just didn't make sense to me. I was annoyed too in the first third of the book with how Kingsolver described the daily life of Dellarobia. It didn't feel authentic. Maybe that's my own inclination to romanticize instead of seeing things for what they are. The character is painted as a simpleton in the beginning, with no "edge" of modern day which was a disconnect for me. The story moves on to use the migration of the butterflies as a lesson in the impact of global warming and climate change. A clumsy transition I felt. A better story is the relationship between Dellarobia and her mother-in-law, husband and girlfriend. The ending ties up things too neatly and quickly.
The writing is very descriptive and evokes the scenes in detail, making the reader feel they are standing in Dellarobia's kitchen or the makeshift laboratory observing the characters' interactions. I tired of the preaching and felt Kingsolver's voice as an outsider to the part of the country and the people she portrays.
Published: 2012 Read: November 2012 Genre: Fiction