Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: Flight Behavior

Book Review: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

So, due to lack of time, this review is going to be a bit more on the traditional side! Hope you enjoy!

Things to know up front...

Recommended to: those interested in the climate change, Kingsolver lovers

Rating: 9/10

Setting: Feathertown, Tennessee during modern times


  • There is talk of a woman's flirtations outside of marriage--nothing serious. A woman sees another man naked, but nothing is described. A woman has a child out of wedlock. 
  • No violence of any kind. 
  • No drug use, except for cigarettes. 
  • Smatterings of curse words, but most--if not all--are pretty mild. 
  • Overall, suitable for about teenagers and up, but the themes are very mature, so the book may not have much appeal for those younger readers. 

Flight Behavior centers around Dellarobia Turnbow, a woman not yet thirty who is a perfect symbol of missed opportunities. Pregnant and then married soon after at seventeen in a tiny southern town of Tennessee, opportunities and excitement have passed Dellarobia by for too long. But when Dellarobia hikes up the mountain one day for a tryst, she discovers something amazing: millions of monarch butterflies flooding the trees, so many that she retreats back down the mountain without ever meeting her man. Suddenly, the butterflies become the center of Dellarobia's life as it brings controversy, love, and unwelcome ideas about global warming to Feathertown. Flight Behavior is an amazing story of life and the chosen and un-chosen events that get us there.

I started out reading this with some serious doubts. I'm a huge fan of some of Kingsolver's other novels such as The Lacuna and The Poisonwood Bible, but I know I've read one or two others that have been a bit of a miss for me. Fortunately, my doubts were very unnecessary! Kingsolver delivered once again with this one!

The protagonist, Dellarobia, is a truly amazing medium to tell such a tale through. You can't help but love this sassy little woman that wants so much, but got stuck with so little. Her rise to someone that finally decides that she deserves something more after she helps biologists study the monarch phenomenon is inspiring and yet so very saddening at the same time.

The best part about Flight Behavior is that it's a novel that works even though it seems like it shouldn't. A fiery woman with two children, a pushover husband, imposing in-laws, and oppressing small town ideas coming into contact with a beautiful but disturbing appearance of monarch butterflies and global warming?  None of it seems to fit together, but somehow Kingsolver carries it off with perfect fluidity.

Overall, I loved this book; it's insightful, thought-provoking, and inspiring. I would highly recommend it to just about anyone, especially Kingsolver fans! Even if you are unfamiliar with any of her other books, you should definitely give Flight Behavior a try anyways; you will experience the unique and intoxicating way that she can blend together science, faith, and the fallibility of human nature to produce something that you won't soon forget. I hope you pick it up soon! 

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