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Animal Dreams

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  70,008 ratings  ·  2,683 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 September 1st 1990)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  70,008 ratings  ·  2,683 reviews

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Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, adult, reread-ing
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 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
Mar 27, 2008 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
Aug 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 03, 2008 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-
Meghan Pinson
Sep 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-books
Like this story. Could have done without stereotypical white woman falls in love with super hot native guy because he shows her the meaning of life with his native knowledge or something. I too would like to go back to my hometown at 35 and have a super hot native guy waiting there to fall in love with me and put up with all my whining about how no one understands my pain. Other than that I enjoyed the story.
lucky little cat
It's been nearly thirty years since I've read this, and it's amazing which details linger.

Their old shoes were in the attic, arranged neatly by size in a row. As if they'd ever need them again.
Joy D
Protagonist Codi Noline returns to her small hometown in Arizona, after fifteen years, to help her aging father, the town’s doctor, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Codi felt like an outsider growing up. She and her father are not close. She is hired to teach biology at the local high school and is staying with a friend. She is concerned about her younger sister, Hallie, who has relocated to Nicaragua to assist with agricultural education, at a time when the Contras are engaged i ...more
Dana D.
Oct 20, 2007 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
Nov 12, 2011 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
Jan 02, 2009 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
╟ ♫ Tima ♪ ╣ ♥
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
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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 lov
Oct 08, 2015 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
Barbara Kingsolver often has an agenda when she writes her novels. But that's OK with me. They are uplifting and a reminder that we should all get up and DO SOMETHING to make the world a better place. And she does it all with beautiful prose.

In this novel Kingsolver's agenda includes:

US Imperialism: an American woman who is kidnapped in (1980s) Nicaragua by US backed insurgents while she is helping the native farmers;

The Environment: the poisoning of a river in Arizona by tailings from a recentl
Animal Dreams is a story of loss and blindedness, community and homelessness, family and rejection, passion and hopelessness, set against and in the war in Nicaragua and a man-made disaster set to devastate the small town of Grace, Arizona. Kingsolver is nothing if not ambitious with her themes.

Despite the variety of themes – add on falling in love, self-discovery, belonging, etc. – I never felt lost. Instead, I wanted to move to Grace, where a motherless child could discover that she had 50 mot
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
This is the 7th book I've read by this author. She falls between 3 and 4 stars for me, but this book was a solid 4 stars for me. I think it's my favorite one so far. I loved the writing more than the actual story. She is great at linking the past with the present. She is also quite expressive with her ideas and with her the descriptive strokes. Some of this was beautifully written and some of it was humorous.

The story line was a little too perfect with a lot of convenient coincidences, but I en
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it
I was surprisingly happy with the ending of this book, but the problem was the rest of it. Throughout, I found myself feeling like there was something missing about Codi. Or at least something *I* was missing. I understood that she was troubled, but I couldn't figure out if I liked her anyway. I understood that she was working through her issues, but I couldn't decide if she was taking too long or not taking long enough. I understood that she loved her sister, but I couldn't tell if the relation ...more
Jeffrey Taylor
Jan 30, 2011 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
Jill Hyesun Wasberg
Mar 09, 2011 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
Samidha; समिधा
This book wrecked me.
When I first read the 30% of the book I had absolutely no feelings for the main character, even though it was written in first person.
I just read it because I loved the way Kingsolver took time to creat and portray her environment, as well as setting.
The last 30% of the book was massively different from the first one. And I think that's when my perspective on this novel changed.

It's a brilliant piece of work, that needs to be read slowly and cherished fully - to finally gra
Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
American exceptionalism was not fueled by some unique spiritual vigor. It was a frighteningly efficient juggernaut powered by the ability to destroy, forget, and move on. That is what Hallie realizes and tells her sister Codi: “She said we were a nation in love with forgetting the facts.” (p.61) That truth strikes Codi, her older sister by a mere three years, as Loyd shows her the land – his land, the land of the Apache, Navajo and Pueblo. She muses: “To people who think of themselves as God's ...more
i reeled so hard when i reached ‘the luckiest person alive’. i’d forgotten that about hallie, even though i’d read the entire book once before, so long ago. i’d forgotten how it ends. i was unprepared for hallie. i forgot about codi getting back on the train. i remembered parts of the book i forgot i’d read, and then remembered specific parts of the book that never even happened at all. kept coming back to what abuelita viola says on the last page. “no, if you remember something, then it’s true… ...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
There are some books that absolutely touch your inner being from page one till its very end, and this was one of them. I absolutely loved this book. The way in which Ms. Kingsolver presents her characters and writes is certainly one that shows an easy going momentum of life's options and changes. Our main character, Calli is a woman lost. Coming from a life where she can't seem to find roots, we meet her beloved sister, Hallie, and her cold, unemotional father, Doc Homer. The book is sad and poi ...more
Sep 17, 2013 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
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am feeling a very eerie sort of calm now. But I also feel my throat still choked up, the way it does when you want to suppress your tears.

I will have to read it again, much slowly the next time, because I feel like I did no justice to the book by reading it the way I did. Codi's voice was too disturbingly similar. At the end of it all, however, I cant help but wonder if I could do what she did - jump on that train, despite or because of everything that transpired through the text. I wonder if
Lisa Roberts
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
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. It covers a lot of territory and while this may look like a laundry list of boring topics, it’s not, and many of these are slightly touched upon while others are delved into and are part of what makes up Codi, our narrator and main character: corporate interference and environmental impact, cock fighting, family issues, the ...more
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
While I intellectually understand that The Poisonwood Bible is Kingolver's Magnum Opus, this is the one I brought when I had the opportunity to have her inscribe one of my books (swoon!)
This is such a beautiful story of reframing your story in adulthood, love, parenthood, and who we are. I had forgotten how much the environment was involved and had forgotten how much of the politics of Nicaragua got into the story, but they were both relevant and well done.
There are so many brilliant lines that
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
This is a wonderful book. It does what many stories try to do: it simply tells a person's life, a snippet of time in the grand scheme of things, and in the process touches on some larger truth. Something that helps a reader with a new perspective, a new thing to think about.

Many stories try to do this. Most fail to do it thoroughly.

But Animal Dreams does it. It is pierced through with sorrow and love and loss and growth, all wrapped up in one special town that most see as a place to move from.
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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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