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Animal Dreams

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  49,597 Ratings  ·  1,773 Reviews
"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, Ariz ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published 1991 by Harper Perennial (first published 1990)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver1984 by George OrwellThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckAnimal Farm by George Orwell
Literature of Social Change
32nd out of 347 books — 289 voters
The Bean Trees by Barbara KingsolverAnimal Dreams by Barbara KingsolverWalks Away Woman by Ki LongfellowDesert Heat by J.A. JanceThe Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Novels Set in Arizona
2nd out of 196 books — 66 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Doc Opp
Apr 05, 2008 Doc Opp rated it really liked it
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
Apr 03, 2008 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Meghan Pinson
May 12, 2008 Meghan Pinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 25, 2013 Sara rated it did not like it
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.
Dec 03, 2008 Leslie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cry-lit
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-
Dana D.
Oct 24, 2007 Dana D. rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 02, 2012 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 02, 2008 Wfbcreeds rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookclub
"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
Jeffrey Taylor
Jan 30, 2011 Jeffrey Taylor rated it it was ok
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
Nov 01, 2015 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-good-read
Barbara Kingsolver has a gift that allows the reader to identify with the land that she is writing about. This story is as much about the main character, Cosima Noline, as it is about her hometown Gracela Canyon, where she grew up and moves back to as a thirty-something. As with Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible, this story has the characters reflect on their place in the world as individuals as well as in their family, community and workplace. The writing is moving and beautiful. And although I rea ...more
Aug 20, 2007 Z rated it really liked it
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
Debra Anne
Sep 02, 2013 Debra Anne rated it it was ok
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
Jun 19, 2010 Garlan rated it really liked it
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
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
Mar 16, 2011 Jill Wasberg rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club
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
Sep 17, 2013 Kelly rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 03, 2009 Zoe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 13, 2010 Richard rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 29, 2008 Joyce rated it liked it
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
Gail Grow
Oct 01, 2015 Gail Grow rated it really liked it
I'm on a Kingsolver roll. Loved this one almost as much as the Bean Trees.
Caroline Barron
Mar 04, 2015 Caroline Barron rated it really liked it
My-Friend-Jarrod is like one of those fortune-telling Magic 8 Balls; you know the ones – shake it, ask a burning question, get an answer. Thankfully Jarrod is not actually a Magic 8 Ball, because his answers are far more useful than “Reply hazy try again” or “Outlook not so good”. When I asked him to recommend books or films “with non-linear narrative structure and several points of view and possibly an unreliable narrator” to help with my novel, he had an immediate reply: “Better not tell you n ...more
Caitlin W.
Nov 26, 2014 Caitlin W. rated it really liked it
Barbara Kingsolver has such a way with words. She can crystallize a moment, a thought, an emotion, and fasten it to the paper like very few people can. There is such detail and nuance in the book that I'm finding it very hard to sum up. I'd give this book 4.5 stars if I could. (I try to give 5 stars only to my favorite books.)

The main character and most frequent narrator of this book, Codi, grew up in the (fictional) small town of Grace, Arizona. Her mother passed away after giving birth to her
Dec 10, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cant even begin to articulate how moving and beautiful I found this book. I am still reeling from it and bet it will stay with me for a long time. As with many of Kingsolver's books, it is about much more than the plot suggests: sisters, finding home, history, environmentalism, gender, family ties, race, US imperialism, etc. Yet it is so rooted that it all makes sense. This might be my favorite book.
Dec 08, 2014 Melissa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I really loved this, one of Kingsolver's earliest works of fiction. Though it's not quite in the same league as a masterpiece like Prodigal Summer, the story is lovely, the characters feel like real-life acquaintances, and her gorgeous, perfect prose is still the best thing about her work. Kingsolver has an astonishing ability to describe a scene in such a way that it becomes a living thing in your mind - but the miracle of it is that she does this using the simplest words. This is also how she' ...more
Feb 29, 2008 Lisa rated it it was amazing
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.
Codi Nolina has returned to Grace, AZ to teach high school biology and keep an eye on her strong-willed father, Homer Nolina. Codi has spent her life drifting along, seeking a place to belong. She finished medical school, but not her internship. She has moved at the whim of her lover Carlo. And she has come to Grace expecting to leave in a year when her teaching contract has expired. Hallie, her sister, has just left for Nicaragua to work helping poor farmers with more efficient farming. Hallie ...more
Cathy Douglas
May 21, 2010 Cathy Douglas rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-other, 2010
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
Catherine  Mustread
Dec 23, 2010 Catherine Mustread rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catherine by: Cafe Libri
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
Gypsy Lady
May 08, 2011 Gypsy Lady rated it really liked it
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
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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.” 3693 likes
“She kept swimming out into life because she hadn't yet found a rock to stand on.” 951 likes
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