According to Goodreads I shelved this as TBR on June 14, 2013. I’m sure there are books that have been on my TBR list longer, but I would have no idea what they are.Therefore, this book is my Backlog book. I don’t know why it took me so long to read this book, I know I enjoy Kingsolver’s writing, but whatever the reason I’m glad this challenge gave me a reason to pick it up.
Dellarobia is a young woman trapped by life in a marriage with two young children and no real way out. She decides to throw it all away and have an affair with a guy she’s been flirting with. As she walks up the mountain to meet this man, the world around her erupts into flame, or so it appears. Stunned by this moment, Dellarobia returns home, and later learns that her moment of fire on the mountain was a flock of butterflies who have decided to winter on the mountains of her Tennessee home instead of their usual spot in Mexico. The butterflies bring scientists and the curious to her mountains and change her life, if not in the way she initially expected when she first went up the mountain.
I love this book. Kingsolver is a great writer, and in this novel she deftly weaves the challenges of poverty in Appalachia with the needs of science and climate change. I suppose that there are some who will read this mostly as a message novel, as the plight of the butterflies is constantly in jeopardy because of climate change, but I never found it preachy. The facts of climate change were placed alongside the needs of Dellarobia’s family and their poverty in a way that made sense. The characters were all sympathetic, and I think Kingsolver was trying to puzzle out why the divide against climate change has happened in poorer areas of the country.
I have always enjoyed Kingsolver’s books, and this one is no exception.