Monday, March 16, 2009

25. Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver

Book Around the States
Personal Challenge
Codi Noline returns to her childhood home of Grace, Arizona to care for her father who has Alzheimer's. Codi has an ambivalent relationship with her father (He named her Cosima and her sister was named Halimeda, for heaven's sake). Codi is at loose ends with her boyfriend and her work, and Hallie is going to Nicaragua; so this seems like something she can do to pass some time. She's hired to teach biology at the local high school because she almost completed her training to be a doctor. She renews old acquaintances including with Loyd, a good-looking Apache trainman. Kingsolver covers a lot of issues in this novel: the death of a river by the local mining company; the U.S. supported Contra war in Nicaragua; relationship issues between children and parents; friendships and romance. In the year she spends in Grace, Codi recovers lost memories, learns to accept herself and find a place in the world, suffers great loss; and helps the town fight a major battle for its survival.

While I didn't care for Poisonwood Bible, I have enjoyed two other Kingsolver novels. I absolutely loved this book. My favorite by far. I was engrossed right from the start. Yes, Codi is whiny at the beginning, but it made sense. I liked and understood her. There were so many fantastic characters in this novel including the town of Grace, itself. The romance never got sappy or overblown. I think I fell in love with Loyd myself. There was sadness and humor, controversy and resolution. And Kingsolver writes so beautifully. Here's a couple of quotes I really liked:

"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. What I want is so simple I almost can't say it: elementary kindness. Enough to eat, enough to go around. The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed." Hallie

"Animals dream about the things they do in the daytime, just like people do. If you want sweet dreams, you've got to live a sweet life." Loyd

Definitely a keeper.

Rating: 5


  1. Well, I must've enjoyed it, as I still have it on my keeper shelf. I just don't remember anything about it! I read it over a decade ago, back when I read The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven. Maybe this is a sign to finally re-read all three!

  2. Well, this is good to know, Framed! I remember not liking The Poisonwood Bible as much as everybody else, but I still liked it, but I didn't care for The Bean Trees. I have Pigs in Heaven and another one on my TBR shelf, but like a lot of those books sitting beside them - I just haven't picked them up yet. I know I don't have this one though. A 5/5 intrigues me! Thanks!

  3. Hi Shaneen!

    My second book, "Life is Tough - I Doubt I'll Make it Out Alive" is out and I'm doing another virtual blog/Facebook tour prior to Mother's Day.

    I am asking a few people who were on the last tour if they'd like to be a part of this one too. I'd send the books out within a day or two and have the tour run through April.

    Are you game? If so, email me at and let me know....

    All my best,

  4. You didn't like The Poisonwood Bible? I loved it! I keep meaning to pick up her other books because I enjoyed it so much but have never found the time. I do have this one sitting on the shelf though.

  5. Wow a 5 rating! This is one of Kingsolver's that I didn't read. Love the quotes. Hopefully, I can find it at Bookmooch. Still can't believe you didn't like Poisonwood Bible.

    I sort of don't like it when someone uses your name in a comment when you clearly have a blog name other than your real name.