This was the third book I read by Barbara Kingsolver. I always get a little scared when I begin one of her books because I'm just sure that she is far too brainy for me and I won't get it. (Why do I keep underestimating myself?) Then I read it, inevitably like it and want to write about it here. Then the fear comes back and I get a knot in my stomach, certain that whatever I have to say about the book won't do it justice. Kingsolver crams so much into each one of her books that I know I'm missing something.
Anyway, the main character is a young woman named Taylor Greer. She, unlike most of the girls she knows, manages to avoid getting pregnant in high school. She saves up some money from her job at a hospital and now wants to get out of her podunk town in rural Kentucky, hopefully to some place with a bit more to offer. She kisses her mama goodbye, packs up her shittastic car, and decides to head west until her car stops running. Along the way she stops at a diner to eat. On her way out she's given a small child who would have otherwise been in grave danger.
Taylor, now with a child, gets back in her car and drives on, finally ending in Tucson, Arizona. Here she meets Lou Ann Ruiz, a gal whose husband just left her and their newborn baby. The young women become friends and move in together, forming an interesting sort of family, wherein they work and take care of one another and the children. Taylor gets a job working for Mattie, the owner of the Jesus is Lord tire shop. Mattie leads a bit of a double life, also running a safe house for illegal immigrants, one of whom Taylor falls painfully in love with.
Even though this book deals with so many serious issues like child abuse, adoption, and immigration, it's mostly a light hearted book that left me totally inspired and in a good mood. The friendships that were made over the course of the story remained strong although the characters had to deal with some rough times.
I just found out there is a sequel to this book titled Pigs in Heaven, which I totally want to read even though it isn't on the list. But until then, Kingsolver has two more books I need to read that are on the list (Prodigal Summer and Animal Dreams), so I need to hurry up and shake my fear of her.