Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver

Jun 18

Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver

I felt I needed to read a book with “summer” in the title.  Barbara Kingsolver is a deft storyteller. I would classify this as an “agenda book.”  The agenda here is threefold, and is expertly told through three rotating characters.

Agenda #1 is to teach the reader about bugs and their important functions on a farm. The descriptions of insects are long and extremely detailed. This portion revolves around Lusa, a recent widow from the big city of Lexington trying to find her place in the world now that her husband is gone and has left her with a bunch of not-so-nice sisters.

Agenda #2 is to teach the reader about the relevance of predatory relationships in the wild, focusing mainly on the plight of the mighty coyote. This section stars Deanna, an older gal who lives alone in the mountains and is employed by the government to keep an eye on mother nature. It should be noted that this character is a “Cougar” in the mountains, as she eventually shacks up with a much younger character.

Agenda #3 centers in on the downfall of the noble chestnut tree and the evil nature of pesticides.  This sad saga is told through the eyes of one crabby old man, Garnett, and one eccentric old lady, Nannie . Most of the greatly needed comic relief comes from these old birds bickering.

Southern speech abounds. If you can explain “My Dad used to say if you play in the fire, you’ll pee in the bed” you may have a gold star for the day.

Are these issues important? Absolutely. Was it a little painful to wade through the plethora of biological and ecological facts? Absolutely.  This book was well done and very informative; it is just not within my range of interest.

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