Laurie's Reviews > Prodigal Summer

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
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Sep 04, 07

Recommended for: people who like biology textbooks and romance novels, especially at the same time.
Read in April, 2007

** spoiler alert ** Barbara Kingsolver is a great writer and The Poisonwood Bible is one of the best books that I've ever read, ever.

Prodigal Summer is, however, not one of the best books that I've ever read.

**NOTE: There is a minor spoiler in this review**

It's part romance novel and part biology textbook, two genres that I don't really seek out to begin with, and the combination put me to sleep. Unfortunately, it's also part organic farming propaganda pamphlet which is great and everything because that's what I'm all about but, hey, I don't actually need you to hit me over the head repeatedly with your enviro-mallet throughout the book.

Okay, but all that aside, here is my biggest beef with the book and, hold up for a second because this is about to be a not-very-significant spoiler... SHE NEVER HOOKS UP WITH THE PERSON THAT YOU ARE WAITING FOR HER TO HOOK UP WITH. I mean, whatever, it would be totally inappropriate and probably out of character or whatever but are you seriously telling me that I sat through 447 pages of BORING SEX only to be cheated out of the ONLY SEX SCENE that might have actually been hot?? Thanks a lot, Barbara Kingsolver. Way to replicate my actual sex life.
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message 9: by Baiocco (new)

Baiocco Ha Ha! This review is killer! Enviro-mallet


Naomi Wait, who? Lusa? Her nephew? What sex scene were you cheated out of? Just wondering...

This just further illustrates to me why there are so many books in the world! (It takes all kinds...)


Naomi Also, I hadn't thought about it previously, but now upon reflecting on your review, I can see what you mean about getting hit over the head with an enviro-mallet. I guess I'm still at that stage of The Excitement of Discovery when it comes to learning how to live "greener" - something my parents didn't teach me - and now I'm figuring it out a little later than some. You have been on that road for a lot longer than me, or so I think, so it is understandably less exciting for you and more "Yeah, OK, I GET it, Barbara, but thank you!" Also I believe she wrote this book in 2000/2001, so... I don't know, I think that's a factor as well in the "Organic Movement," and where it was at that time (not brand new but mainstream America, you know the so-called "undead" didn't have a clue). So, I don't know, I think she is actually attempting to inform the masses, which does not include you. You are one of the Incredibly Informed, which is a huge compliment in my mind. That comes from a lot of work and awareness on your part!

Plus I think another reason why people either love or hate this book is based on where they are located. I live in a very wildlife-y location - there are bears and mountain lions literally running around the same streets as me on the daily and a few weeks back I literally almost ran into a young buck as we were both sauntering down the street not paying attention to anything outside of our little heads. So, I theorize that people who must find a way to peacefully reside with snakes and spiders and salamanders probably got more out of this book than those who don't... I don't know? What do you think?


Laurie @Naomi
That's a really good point about when the book was written. I think you're right about that. I also am not exactly "one with nature" so that might be part of why I was yawning throughout.

I read this book so long ago that I can't remember the character's names, but the non-existent sex scene to which I'm referring is with that seventeen-year-old kid on the farm... maybe he was her nephew, but I don't think they were blood related. They almost hooked up, but then didn't. All of the other sex scenes in the book kind of made me want to throw up in my mouth.

Also, I want to reiterate-- I LOVE BARBARA KINGSOLVER. I've adored every other book she's written. So I'm not trying to hate here.

@Baiocco
Ha, thanks!


travelmel I love your "who would like this book" listing. Hilarious!


Beth What?! She couldn't hook up with him! They were not blood-related, no. But still. Come on. He was super similar to her husband so it would obviously be a trying-to-replace-him situation. And she lived on the same land as his mother and his aunts. That might become a touch awkward if that were ever found out.

And Naomi, I live in Chicago, but I still loved the nature stuff! And I usually don't go for that type of thing. I think it's just a testament to Kingsolver being an incredible writer.


message 3: by Vv (new) - rated it 4 stars

Vv I was quite excited that Lusa was able to turn down such a tempting offer. It was like she was really taking on the role of mother and role model, although she still wanted to tease him with dancing and hiring him. Who knows, they may totally hook up in a few years -- and his cousins would become his stepchildren and the whole town would scandalize them.


Vicki Luschek I agree 200%. Couldn't have said it better myself!


Tricia Legg A bit difficult to get through, but if I can do it.......


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