A novel by Barbara Kingsolver about a small town girl named Taylor Greer who decides to drive her car as far as it'll take her and settle down wherever it ends up breaking. Along the way she meets a Guatemalan couple and after traveling through an Indian reserve, she gets saddled with the toddler Turtle. The rest of the novel deals with the relationships between her and the people in her new town as well as the details of this unexpected motherhood.
The novel eventually spawned a sequel: Pigs in Heaven.
This book provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Turtle's.
- Artificial Limbs: Lou Ann's husband got a replacement foot after an accident. He than proceeds to wangst about it.
- The Alleged Car: Taylor drives an old junker, and her plan is to drive it until it breaks down.
- Candy Striper: Taylor mentions that many of the girls in her Kentucky hometown became Candy Stripers in high school as an extracurricular activity.
- Disappeared Dad: Both Lou Ann and Taylor have them: Lou Ann's is dead, and Taylor's was never there in the first place.
- Foil: Taylor and Lou Ann are this to each other, with Lou Ann being timid and sensitive and Taylor being brash and confident. They are also...
- Handy Helper: Virgie to Enda, whose blind.
- Incest Is Relative: Turtle was given to Taylor by a well-meaning relative because two-year-old Turtle's uncle was beating her... and from the looks of the bruises, probably raping her as well.
- Sexy Priest: Father William
- Small Town Boredom: The driving force of this novel.
- Surprisingly Good English: Estevan to Taylor, justified given that he's an English teacher.
- Teen Pregnancy: The fate of most of the girls in Taylor's hometown. Taylor escapes this, only to get another person's toddler dumped onto her lap as soon as she leaves her hometown.
- The Rez
- This Is My Name on Foreign: Estevan and Esperanza introducing themselves as "Steven" and "Hope" to potentially avoid prejudice.
- Those Two Guys: Edna and Virgie.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Estevan and Taylor.
- Wrench Wench: Mattie.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Taylor is quite nervous around tires after seeing a man thrown into the air by an exploding tractor tire as a child. Naturally, the only place she can find a job is Jesus Is Lord Used Tires.