Animal Dreams
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Animal Dreams

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  39,672 ratings  ·  1,541 reviews

From Barbara Kingsolver, the acclaimed author of Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, The Bean Trees, and other modern classics, Animal Dreams is a passionate and complex novel about love, forgiveness, and one woman’s struggle to find her place in the world.

At the end of her rope, Codi Noline returns to her Arizona home to face her ailing father, with whom she has a difficult, dis

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Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1990)
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Doc Opp
I was a bit disturbed that I could appreciate this book. While I have liked a lot of Kingsolver's other work, this particular book is centered around the sort of seriously damaged character that usually turns me off to a book. And had I read this in high school, or college, or maybe even grad school, I'm fairly certain I would have disliked it tremendously.

And yet... having read it when I did, I was able to identify with some elements of the what the character was experiencing, even if I didn't...more
Lindsay
In a letter to Codi, Hallie writes, "'What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you know how to drive.'" This is not a love story as the back of the book may have you believe. Sure, people fall in and out of love within its pages, but this book is really about understanding oneself amid a lifetime of memories and secrets...the risks we take not only when we cheat ourselves, but when we find ourselves, too. I read this for the first time two y...more
Meghan Pinson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cat
This is only the second book that I've read by Barbara Kingsolver, and I'm very interested in learning about her writing process. She has this infectious, cultural curiosity that drives her to learn anything and everything about a place and its people...even if they only exist in her mind. She creates an entire world of history, geography, lineage and folklore.

And every character is filled with so much wisdom and humor that I feel like I was given a sneak peak into Kingsolver's personality. Eve...more
Leslie
I stayed up late tonight finishing this book. I just bought the book 2 days ago at a used bookstore. This was an uncharacteristically fast read for me. I read like I eat - slowly and often distracted. I've been sobbing (not crying, SOBBING) through the last half of the book. I'm just getting over a nasty cold and it definitely wasn't pretty.

Kingsolver writing is so earthy, playful and gorgeous at the same time. She weaves in these metaphors about globalism and environmentalism (in the most non-...more
Dana D.
This is my favorite Kingsolver novel, and I've re-read it several times, not because it's the best "literature" but because I loved several the characters and some of the imagery... I even named my cat after the main character's sister. Sort of. Anyway, it's readable in a day or two; it's a little preachy and the plot is contrived, but of great sentimental value to me. And the scene of Cody's aging father developing black and white photographs meant to resemble completely unrelated objects reall...more
Heather P
(http://www.nothingisheavy.com/2009/09...)

I can rifle the pages of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams and easily find my favorite part. I have many. It's unfair to pick one favorite part of a book the same way it's unfair to pick one favorite child. This book touches me on a level I struggle to even describe. I feel a bit like it's a cop-out, choosing a book that I teach as my favorite book. It's a bit like saying your favorite outfit is your work uniform. Does it help that hours of painful draw...more
Stephanie
Picked this one up for next to nothing at a garage sale in September along with Sol Yurik's "The Warriors" and S.E. Hinton's "The Outsiders".

The pretty woman in her early 40's refused to sell it to me, instead wanting me to take it for free. I insisted and gave her a buck for all three. She lives in a tiny little pink and turquoise casita around the corner and up the street from my flat which I have always lovingly admired. Now having read the book I feel like there was some sort of "Never Endi...more
Wfbcreeds
"Animals dream about the things they do in the day time just like people do. If you want sweet dreams, you've got to live a sweet life." So says Loyd Peregrina, a handsome Apache trainman and latter-day philosopher. But when Codi Noline returns to her hometown, Loyd's advice is painfully out of her reach. Dreamless and at the end of her rope, Codi comes back to Grace, Arizona to confront her past and face her ailing, distant father. What the finds is a town threatened by a silent environmental c...more
Z
This is the Kalamazoo Public Library's Reading Together 2008 book, and I would highly recommend it. It deals with family issues, Alzheimer's, environmental issues, political issues (specifically Nicaragua in the 1980's), and Native American issues, yet it is not an "issue book." It is a captivating story of a 30-something woman who returns to her small hometown and struggles with opening herself up to life. That may make it sound sappy, but it's not, because Cosima, our protagonist and narrator,...more
Sara
Aug 25, 2013 Sara rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Sara by: Had to read for work
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Garlan
After a somewhat slow start, this turned out to be a great read! I really loved the imagery of the southwest, and all the great characters that Kingsolver brings to life.
Codi (Cosima - for "Order in the Cosmos") Noline returns to Grace, AZ to care for an ailing father and to try to come to grips with her own past. Fearing loss and hurt, she struggles to remain "apart" from everything, even as she becomes more enmeshed with the townspeople and their plight. Her relationships with a distant fathe...more
Jeffrey Taylor
The book was interesting light reading, easy to read; not very demanding. Overall, however, I found it disappointing.

An essential quality of a novel is its ability to take us into the consciousness of another person. In that respect Kingsolver succeeds. Codi is a feminine, anti-hero. Kingsolver takes us into all of Codi's doubts and misgivings. We experience the broken and the whole moments of her life.

Unfortunately there are unexplored and incomplete elements in Codi's life that are not fully...more
Caleigh
In this book, they tell it from two different people's perspective. The main character, Codi, is very open about all of her feelings and what she feels should be done. The father, on the other hand, is very mysterious and only really told about through Codi's point of view. However, after hearing everything Codi has to say about her father, you read a little part from her father's view, which is completely different from Codi's. I think you learn more about each character this way, and about how...more
Jill Wasberg
This was pretty silly. I loved Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer, and this was promising, with complex themes of environmental ethics and international social justice issues. I thought the narration (first person, mid-thirties female who teaches high school biology in her tiny southwestern hometown) was so trite and annoying! I think Barbara Kingsolver is a talented writer, so I'm not sure what happened here.

Much of the story was about Codi, the narrator, coming to terms with coming to the h...more
Zoe
I found this at Brattleboro Books, the used bookstore in town, and thought that if I actually bought it, maybe I would finally read it. I've checked it out of three different libraries now at least five times, but somehow have always been too distracted to get into it. I have paid enough library fines because of this to have paid for my used copy several times, I'm sure. But ohhh my. This was perfect. My (early-)mid-winter desert escape.
How do these things find us just when we need them? I think...more
Debra Anne
Animal Dreams has everything in it that I love about Kingsolver's writing -- her vision-filled writing style, and sense of place. I loved immersing myself in the Latino-spiced culture, and the Native American wisdom of the nearby pueblo people enriches the mix. That being said, two things almost made me put it down, and only Kingsolver's talent as a writer kept me going. The book is basically a romance novel, not my favorite genre, but I can endure a romance novel if there is more to the plot, w...more
Richard
Ok, I cried. Laughed, too, but books that can actually squeeze a tear out of me are few and far between - especially one's that aren't overtly manipulative.

I waited a long time to read this - 19 years, in fact. I'm like that with some books. I know I'm going to read them, but the time has to be "right." In some cases like The Last Temptation of Christ that I carted around for ten years, "right" meant I had to mature as a reader - and maybe that's what it meant for Animal Dreams. I knew from the...more
Joyce
This was a pleasant, "chick lit" kind of read and I can't, for the life of me," figure out why the community where I live chose it as a community read. The most I got out of this tale is a desire to visit Arizona. It's a nice story and I liked the central character and her boyfriend, but I fail to see any deep meanings which would resonate with the whole Midwestern county where I live. There's an environmental subplot that is amusingly and deftly handled, but it's not central to the story. If an...more
Jeanette
An all-around good book. A little heartbreak, a little hope, a little humor, and none of it overdone. Easy to read, but by no means brain candy. There are some very valuable observations woven into the story, nicely understated. Codi's little journey reminds us that the way we remember things may have nothing to do with actual events, and that little things we do for others and for the earth can be important for both the doer and the "doee." ;)

The main character is a tall female like me, and I l...more
Lisa
Fabulous book! Loved the relationship of the sisters in this book. Made me want to snatch my sister up and keep her in my pocket.
Cathy Douglas
Nice writing, but no surprises; if you make it through the first couple chapters you know exactly how the rest of the book is going to go. I liked the main character, who Kingsolver made wonderfully complex, but didn't think the pat ending did her justice.

The most fascinating thing about Codi is that she remembers things she can't possibly remember in real life, but has forgotten large chunks of her life, especially her childhood. She's very close to her sister, whose presence permeates the boo...more
Catherine  Mustread
My second reading, with an eighteen year lapse, of this highly emotional novel. Codi's search for meaning in her life had more poignancy for me in this reading as I recognize themes that I have also dealt with -- friends, relatives in decline, ongoing yet always shifting demands of family, a search for personal history and community and finally acceptance.

I love the Arizona setting, the ecology, Native American, and saving the world themes but I think Barbara Kingsolver expores all of these them...more
Gypsy Lady
Page 61
In high school, Hallie and I were beneath Trish's stratum of normal conversation. I remembered every day of those years, no lapses there. Once in the bathroom I'd heard her call us the bean-pole sisters, and speculate that we wore hand-me-down underwear. I wondered how the rules had changed. Had I come up in the world, or Trish down? Or perhaps growing up meant we put our knives away and feigned ignorance of the damage.

Page 261
If Grace gets poisoned, if all these trees die and this land g...more
Scout
I've been a Kingsolver fan for many years. Somehow I missed this novel back in 1990 and just got around to reading it.

It's set in Arizona, and the setting is beautifully described. "Over our heads was a chalky full moon with cloud rubbed across it, like something incompletely erased."

I especially enjoyed the parts of the book dealing with Native American culture. The description of the ancient pueblos and how they were built to blend with the landscape was appealing.

I like Codi, the main chara...more
Yvonne Loveday
This book started out unspectacular. By the time I got to the end, I had been shaken to my bones several times by the honesty and truth of what I was reading.

Favorite quotes:

"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. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof."

"Awareness is everything. Hallie once pointed out to me that people worry a lot more about the eternity after their deaths than the...more
Bob
Understanding who we are and our place in the world are among the fundamental tasks of being human. This novel is about that work, seen through the eyes and flashbacks of Codi Noline. Codi ends up back in Grace, Arizona after dropping out of her medical residency and drifting through various jobs and relationships. She's come home to care for her Alzheimer's afflicted father, the town doctor and takes a teaching job at the local high school. Meanwhile, her sister Hallie has migrated to Nicaragua...more
Sterlingcindysu
I bought this a couple years ago because I loved The Poisonwood Bible. When I pulled it out to read it, I was surprised that it was autographed! But because it's a trade paperback it already has some yellowing around the corners and had not one, but two prices written on the inside from used bookstores ($6 and $3). I bet authors hate to see their books sold like that! On the other hand at least 4 people read this particular book.

A 3.5 rounded down. If I had read this when it was written in 1990...more
Tima
Jun 17, 2012 Tima rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Tima by: my step-mother
This book was captivating. Kingsolver has a rare gift of painting emotion with every word. She does not spend pages writing detailed descriptions of a character's face; she spends a novel intertwining characters personalities. You can feel the passion, the heavy sadness; you can see the world in which this story lives. She wrote so beautifully of Native American life, modern city life, loss in many ways (loss of body, mind, feeling, family) but also of gaining all those things back in a true-to-...more
Kelly
This is far and away my favorite book. Yes, asking an avid reader to choose a favorite is like asking a parent to choose a favorite child, I know. But this book. This is the book that made me start re-reading things. This is the book that feels like it was written about my life. This book combines so many things - familial relationships and how we navigate them as we age, losing loved ones, suffering in private, moving back home as an adult, fears of all shapes and sizes, romantic relationships,...more
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Barbara Kingsolver is an American novelist, essayist, and poet. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in Africa in her early childhood. Kingsolver earned degrees in Biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels. Her most famous works include The Poisonwood Bible, the tale of a missionary family in the Congo,...more
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“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” 3483 likes
“What I want is so simple I almost can't say it: elementary kindness.” 244 likes
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