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Literature / The Bean Trees

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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.


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