Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Review: Pigs In Heaven

Pigs In Heaven
By Barbara Kingsolver
Harper Perennial November 2003
343 pages
From my shelves

Pigs in Heaven (Greer Family, #2)

Taylor is doing the best she can to keep her small but unconventional family on its feet. When her six year old daughter Turtle suddenly becomes a local tv star, their security is thrown into doubt. Turtle was adopted, but she is Cherokee and the tribe has the authority to approve all adoptions. Taylor is desperate to hold on to the daughter she loves, but what if being with her own people is best for Turtle?

I'm still somewhat of a Barbara Kingsolver newbie. I have of course read The Poisonwood Bible, but that it's it so far. Each time I read one of her books, I become more convinced that she is one of those authors I should be following closely and reading frequently.

My favorite thing about this book is the amazing female characters. And yes, they are mostly female. We meet Taylor, who is so committed to her daughter that she will leave everything she knows behind in order to keep her safe. Turtle herself is a delightful kid who is both wise beyond her years and shy about her own abilities. Taylor's mother Alice also plays a major role here and we see her take control of her life at the age when most people are content to let life pass them by. Kingsolver makes the Greer women so strong and so wonderful that we are prepared to root for them against anyone and anything.

But then we meet Anawake Fourkiller, a lawyer who is committed to ensuring justice for her tribe. Annawake and Taylor have very different opinions about what is the best thing for Turtle. I started out the book convinced that Taylor knew what should happen. It was her daughter, after all. But the wisdom in Kingsolver's writing is that Annawake is coming from a place of love and caring as well. As the reader oscillates back and forth between the opinions of the two women, the tension builds because no one is sure what will happen in the end.

Pigs In Heaven is a heartfelt book about creating your own family and finding your voice to speak up for the ideas and people you believe in. It's funny in several places and chock full of characters to adore. Just don't make the same mistake I did - read the first book about Taylor and Turtle, The Bean Trees, before digging into this one. 


  1. Thanks for the tip about The Bean Trees. I also read The Poisonwood Bible and enjoyed it, long ago. This is an author whom I should be checking out further these days!

    1. It's so funny to me because I'm pretty sure my mom has The Bean Trees and I have picked it up and put it down a few times. I guess I have to go back and read it now!

  2. I love Taylor and Turtle...they're such great characters. The Bean Trees was my favorite Kingsolver novel for awhile, but I think I prefer Animal Dreams now. Have you ever read that one?