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Unsheltered, by Barbara Kingsolver

Started 02.11.20 • Finished 03.05.20 / 3 stars

We are often persuaded that what is convenient is also right.

This was the February pick for my neighborhood book club. I've read Barbara Kingsolver before, but it had been a long time and I didn't really know anything about the book. It was very slow-moving as it tried to develop the rather dysfunctional relationships between the characters.

“The loudest horn does nothing to move deaf ears.”

There was quite a bit of it that I found superfluous, including many of her descriptions about the plant and animal life that Mary Treat and Thatcher Greenwood explored. It was tedious rather than drawing me into their world. I do think she did a good job of showing the lengths to which people of Thatcher's time were willing to go to keep the theory of evolution at bay, though she made the creation advocate seem like a crazed uneducated lemming. She was also unnecessarily political, clearly taking jabs at Trump without mentioning him by name - and I'm no Trump supporter.

“But I’m happy now. With Jorge. So I don’t know why I’m so sad.”
“Maybe because this hasn’t healed yet. You’re trying to forget things your heart still wants to remember.”

But there was beauty to this book in that several of the characters came to understand that if they could get out of from under the things that were weighing them down - both represented by houses that were falling down around them - then they would have freedom. And in the end most of them do end up that way, unsheltered in one sense but free in another.

You’re going to end up in rubble. But it’s okay because without all that crap overhead, you’re standing in the daylight.”
“Without a roof over your head, it kind of feels like you might die.”
“Yeah, but you might not. For sure you won’t find your way out of the mess if you keep picking up bricks and stuffing them in your pockets. What you have to do is look for blue sky.”

Unsheltered, I live in daylight. And like the wandering bird I rest in thee.
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