The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

If you haven’t read “The Bean Trees,” I would recommend it. I especially like the voice Barbara Kingsolver writes in for this story – very relaxed and very funny.

The story is about a girl from Kentucky who decides after high school that she is going to take a trip on her own. She has never been away from home before, but knows she doesn’t want to end up pregnant and married (or unmarried) like many of the girls around her are. She heads west and happens into a bar in Oklahoma looking for a cheap meal and ends up with a young Native American child. (It’s hard to tell how old the child is, but she isn’t old enough to speak.)

By chance her next destination is a tire repair place in Arizona called “Jesus is Lord Used Tires” where the woman owner, and smuggler of illegal immigrants, takes her under her wing. One of the funniest bits in the story is about a girlfriend who ends up working in a Salsa factory where no one who works there can touch any delicate (shall we say) parts of themselves or others because of the oil from the hot chili peppers permanently imbedded in their skin.

The whole thing is an interesting ride, and an enjoyable one.


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