Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver

This was kind of an odd book. I actually started out not really liking it at all, but at the last quarter of the book I found myself enjoying it more. I’ve read better by Kingsolver, but it wasn’t terrible.

Alice is fed up with her marriage. The only light in her life is her daughter Taylor, and granddaughter Turtle. Turtle is actually adopted, her mother found her left in her car when she was about three, but they are a tight knit family. So when Turtle sees a man fall into a hole while on vacation, Taylor has no idea that her world is about to be turned upside down. After being on numerous tv shows, someone sees Turtle, and realizes that she is a part of the Cherokee nation and as such probably hasn’t had a legal adoption. Taylor, scared she’ll lose her little girl, flees to the wind and runs into several strange people, while her mother Alice tries to find some way to hold the family together.

There were a lot of characters in this book, and most of them were great. There were a few that were kind of out there and I don’t see what they added to the story, but I guess thats just my opinion. The character Barbie especially, sure she was unique but she kind of just detracted from the story. Taylor’s boyfriend Jax also didn’t do anything for me. There were some side cuts to his point of view during the book and they just didn’t help the plot along at all. I did like Turtle, I thought she was an interesting little girl with a sad story. Taylor too was inspiring in her devotion to the little girl. But I think my favorite character was Alice. There was just something about her that was comforting.

The plot tends to meander here and there throughout the book. In fact I had a hard time keeping with it in the beginning because it just didn’t grab my interest. In fact, it finally grabbed my interest once they got to Heaven. And by Heaven I mean a small town going by the name that has a large population of Native Americans. The book goes into more culture and stories and just general warm people when it gets there and the book undergoes an amazing transformation into something interesting. But still, that slow start is a killer for me. Kingsolver does have a nice writing style though and her characters express themselves well. There isn’t too much offensive in the book although it is a little sad.

Not my favorite by her but it won’t keep me from reading the other ones. If you can get through the beginning of this book the end makes it all worthwhile.

Pigs in Heaven
Copyright 1993
343 pages

Review by M. Reynard 2011

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