The basics: Dellarobia is a young, married mother of two in Appalachia. When Monarch butterflies are discovered in the woods behind their home, their land becomes a spectacle of sorts.
My thoughts: There's a fabulous moment in Center Stage (one of my all-time favorite films) when Peter Gallagher's character says "I need to see the movement, not the effort behind it." That sentiment perfectly fits my thoughts on Flight Behavior: As I read, I saw the effort behind the novel rather than the novel itself. I don't necessarily mean that as a criticism. Flight Behavior is a novel I quite enjoyed, but it wasn't one that swept me away. I never felt the characters were real people, but they were well-formed. I didn't feel Flight Behavior was set in actual Appalachia, but rather an idyllic version of it. Still, I loved the experience of reading this novel. Kingsolver's prose was fluid and beautiful. This novel is filled with long sentences, long paragraphs, and long chapters. I found myself wanting to read it in bursts, and as I finished each chapter, I closed the book and pondered it for awhile. It wasn't a classic page turner, as I didn't care as much about what happened as I did why Kingsolver makes the choices she makes: I cared more about her motivations as a writer and the message than I did about the characters.
The verdict: Flight Behavior is a thought-provoking novel concerned with climate change and science. This emphasis is both a strength and a weakness, as I found myself more engaged with the issues than the characters themselves. Kingsolver's writing shines brighter than the characters, but it's a novel I ultimately quite enjoyed, albeit for surprising reasons.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 448 pages
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Flight Behavior from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)
Want more? Visit all the tour stops, visit Barbara Kingsolver's website, and like her on Facebook.
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