Animal Dreams: A Novel

Animal Dreams: A Novel

by Barbara Kingsolver

Paperback(Reissue)

$15.29 $16.99 Save 10% Current price is $15.29, Original price is $16.99. You Save 10%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, September 25

Overview

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, distant relationship. There she meets handsome Apache trainman Loyd Peregrina, who tells her, “If you want sweet dreams, you’ve got to live a sweet life.”

Filled with lyrical writing, Native American legends, a tender love story, and Codi’s quest for identity, Animal Dreams is literary fiction at it’s very best.

This edition includes a P.S. section with additional insights from Barbara Kingsolver, background material, suggestions for further reading, and more.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062278500
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Series: P.S. Series
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 81,966
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 790L (what's this?)

About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver is the author of nine bestselling works of fiction, including the novels, Flight Behavior, The Lacuna, The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Dreams, and The Bean Trees, as well as books of poetry, essays, and creative nonfiction. Her work of narrative nonfiction is the enormously influential bestseller Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. Kingsolver’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has earned literary awards and a devoted readership at home and abroad. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal, our country’s highest honor for service through the arts, as well as the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize for her body of work. She lives with her family on a farm in southern Appalachia.

Date of Birth:

April 8, 1955

Place of Birth:

Annapolis, Maryland

Education:

B.A., DePauw University, 1977; M.S., University of Arizona, 1981

Read an Excerpt

Hallie's Bones

I am the sister who didn't go to war. I can only tell you my side of the story. Hallie is the one who went south, with her pickup truck and her crop-disease books and her heart dead set on a new world.

Who knows why people do what they do? I stood on a battleground once too, but it was forty years after the fighting was all over: northern France, in 1982, in a field where the farmers' plow blades kept turning up the skeletons of cows. They were the first casualties of the German occupation. In the sudden quiet after the evacuation the cows had died by the thousands in those pastures, slowly, lowing with pain from unmilked udders. But now the farmers who grew sugar beets in those fields were blessed, they said, by the bones. The soil was rich in calcium.

Three years later when my sister talked about leaving Tucson to work in the cotton fields around Chinandega, where farmers were getting ambushed while they walked home with their minds on dinner, all I could think of was France. Those long, flat fields of bone-fed green. Somehow we protect ourselves; it's the nearest I could come to imagining Nicaragua. Even though I know the bones in that ground aren't animal bones.

She left in August after the last rain of the season. Summer storms in the desert are violent things, and clean, they leave you feeling like you have cried. Hallie had never left me before. It was always the other way around, since I'm three years older and have had to do things first. She would just be catching up when I'd go again, swimming farther out into life because I still hadn't found a rock to stand on. Never because I wanted to leave. Hallie and I were so attached, like keenly mismatched Siamese twins conjoined at the back of the mind. We parted again and again and still each time it felt like a medical risk, as if we were being liberated at some terrible cost: the price of a shared organ. We never stopped feeling that knife.

But she went. And true to the laws of family physics, the equal and opposite reaction, I was soon packed up too and headed northeast on a Greyhound bus. In our divergent ways, I believe we were both headed home. I was bound for Grace, Arizona, where Hallie and I were born and raised, and where our father still lived and was said to be losing his mind. It was a Sunday. I had a window seat, and in a Greyhound you're up high. You pass through the land like some rajah on an elephant looking down on your kingdom, which in this case was a scorched bristling landscape and the tops of a lot of cars. It wasn't all that different from my usual view of life, because I'm tall, like my father and Hallie. I don't look like who I am. They do, but I don't.

It was midmorning when I stepped down off the bus in Grace, and I didn't recognize it. Even in fourteen years it couldn't have changed much, though, so I knew it was just me. Grace is made of things that erode too slowly to be noticed: red granite canyon walls, orchards of sturdy old fruit trees past their prime, a shamelessly unpolluted sky. The houses were built in no big hurry back when labor was taken for granted, and now were in no big hurry to decay. Arthritic mesquite trees grew out of impossible crevices in the cliffs, looking as if they could adapt to life on Mars if need be.

I was the only passenger getting off. The short, imperious bus driver opened the baggage door and made a show of dragging out luggage to get to mine, as if I were being difficult. A more accommodating woman, he implied, would be content with whatever bags happened to be right in front. Finally he slapped my two huge suitcases flat out in the dust. He slammed the doors and reclaimed his throne, causing the bus to bark like a dog, leaving a cloud of exhaust in the air, getting the last word, I suppose.

The view from here was orchards: pecan, plum, apple. The highway ran along the river, dividing the orchards like a long, crooked part in a leafy scalp. The trees filled the whole valley floor to the sides of the canyon. Confetti-colored houses perched on the slopes at its edges with their backs to the canyon wall. And up at the head of the canyon was the old Black Mountain copper mine. On the cliff overlooking the valley, the smelter's one brick smokestack pointed obscenely at heaven.

I dragged my bags to the edge of the street. Carlo, my lover of ten years, whom I seemed to have just left, would be sending a trunk from Tucson when he got around to it. I didn't own very much I cared about. I felt emptied-out and singing with echoes, unrecognizable to myself: that particular feeling like your own house on the day you move out. I missed Hallie. Carlo, too--for the lost possibilities. At the point I left, he and I were still sleeping together but that was all, just sleeping, with our backs touching. Sometimes Hallie would cough in the next room and I'd wake up to find my arm over his shoulder, my fingers touching his chest, but that's only because it takes your sleeping self years to catch up to where you really are. Pay attention to your dreams: when you go on a trip, in your dreams you will still be home. Then after you've come home you'll dream of where you were. It's a kind of jet lag of the consciousness.

Copyright © 1991 by Barbara Kingsolver.

Reading Group Guide

Plot Summary:

 

If you want sweet dreams, you've got to live a sweet life."
- Loyd Peregrina in Animal Dreams

Cynical and self-absorbed, Codi Noline has been drifting in an aimless relationship and through a series of jobs when she packs up and returns home to the town of Grace, Arizona to care for her physician father, who has Alzheimers, and to teach high school science. Emotionally distant from her childhood and father, feeling herself to be an outsider and a failure, Codi sees nothing but differences between herself and her younger sister, Hallie, a political activist, and now, a volunteer worker in Nicaragua. Through her involvements with Loyd Peregrina (a handsome trainman of Pueblo, Navajo, and Apache descent), the local matriarchs of the "Stitch and Bitch Club," and her students, and through reading Hallie's letters from Nicaragua, Codi gradually lets go of her defensive isolation. Slowly, she recovers her connection to a sense of self and a community that has always been there, but she had forgotten. When her hometown is threatened with environmental catastrophe, she finds herself, like Hallie, taking responsibility for changing the world around her.

-1990 Edward Abbey Award for Ecofiction
-1991 PEN Center USA West Literary Award for Fiction
-1991 American Library Association Best Books of the Year
-1991 American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults

Kingsolver on Animal Dreams:
"Animal Dreams was the first novel I wrote on purpose, so it's more calculated thematically than The Bean Trees. The question I beganwith was this: why do some people engage with the world and its problems, while others turn their backs on it? And why is it that these two sorts of people often occur even in the same family? I'm very curious about this because I'm a human rights activist myself. So I invented two sisters with apparently opposite personalities, and then I invested them with a family and began to work backwards to find the point in their shared history that would have pushed them into opposite directions."

Topics For Discussion
1. Why are Hallie and Codi different? What happened that caused them to take such different life paths? How and why does Codi change? Why does she become more engaged with the world?

2. One theme of the novel is the relationship between humans and the natural world. What does the novel have to say about the difference between Native American and Anglo American culture in relation to nature? How do creation stories, such as the Pueblo creation legend and the Garden of Eden story, continue to influence culture and behavior?

3.How do you feel about Doc Homer? What kind of parent was he, and why? In what ways did his strange point of view serve as a vehicle for the novel's themes of memory, amnesia, and identity?

About the Author:

Barbara Kingsolver was born on April 8, 1955. She grew up "in the middle of an alfalfa field," in the part of eastern Kentucky that lies between the opulent horse farms and the impoverished coal fields. While her family has deep roots in the region, she never imagined staying there herself. "The options were limited--grow up to be a farmer or a farmer's wife."

Kingsolver has always been a storyteller: "I used to beg my mother to let me tell her a bedtime story." As a child, she wrote stories and essays and, beginning at the age of eight, kept a journal religiously. Still, it never occurred to Kingsolver that she could become a professional writer. Growing up in a rural place, where work centered mainly on survival, writing didn't seem to be a practical career choice. Besides, the writers she read, she once explained, "were mostly old, dead men. It was inconceivable that I might grow up to be one of those myself . . . "

Kingsolver left Kentucky to attend DePauw University in Indiana, where she majored in biology. She also took one creative writing course, and became active in the last anti-Vietnam War protests. After graduating in 1977, Kingsolver lived and worked in widely scattered places. In the early eighties, she pursued graduate studies in biology and ecology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where she received a Masters of Science degree. She also enrolled in a writing class taught by author Francine Prose, whose work Kingsolver admires.

Kingsolver's fiction is rich with the language and imagery of her native Kentucky. But when she first left home, she says, "I lost my accent . . . [P]eople made terrible fun of me for the way I used to talk, so I gave it up slowly and became something else." During her years in school and two years spent living in Greece and France she supported herself in a variety of jobs: as an archaeologist, copy editor, X-ray technician, housecleaner, biological researcher and translator of medical documents. After graduate school, a position as a science writer for the University of Arizona soon led her into feature writing for journals and newspapers. Her numerous articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including The Nation, The New York Times, and Smithsonian, and many of them are included in the collection, High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never. In 1986 she won an Arizona Press Club award for outstanding feature writing, and in 1995, after the publication of High Tide in Tucson, Kingsolver was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from her alma mater, De Pauw University.

Kingsolver credits her careers in scientific writing and journalism with instilling in her a writer's discipline and broadening her "fictional possiblities." Describing herself as a shy person who would generally prefer to stay at home with her computer, she explains that "journalism forces me to meet and talk with people I would never run across otherwise."

From 1985 through 1987, Kingsolver was a freelance journalist by day, but she was writing fiction by night. Married to a chemist in 1985, she suffered from insomnia after becoming pregnant the following year. Instead of following her doctor's recommendation to scrub the bathroom tiles with a toothbrush, Kingsolver sat in a closet and began to write The Bean Trees, a novel about a young woman who leaves rural Kentucky (accent intact) and finds herself living in urban Tucson.

The Bean Trees, published by HarperCollins in 1988, and reissued in a special ten-year anniversary hardcover edition in 1998, was enthusiastically received by critics. But, perhaps more important to Kingsolver, the novel was read with delight and, even, passion by ordinary readers. "A novel can educate to some extent," she told Publishers Weekly. "But first, a novel has to entertain--that's the contract with the reader: you give me ten hours and I'll give you a reason to turn every page. I have a commitment to accessiblity. I believe in plot. I want an English professor to understand the symbolism while at the same time I want the people I grew up with--who may not often read anything but the Sears catalogue--to read my books."

For Kingsolver, writing is a form of political activism. When she was in her twenties she discovered Doris Lessing. "I read the Children of Violence novels and began to understand how a person could write about the problems of the world in a compelling and beautiful way. And it seemed to me that was the most important thing I could ever do, if I could ever do that."

The Bean Trees was followed by the collection, Homeland and Other Stories (1989), the novels Animal Dreams (1990), and Pigs in Heaven (1993), and the bestselling High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now and Never (1995). Kingsolver has also published a collection of poetry, Another America: Otra America (Seal Press, 1992, 1998), and a nonfiction book, Holding the Line: Women in the Great Arizona Mine Strike of l983 (ILR Press/Cornell University Press, 1989, 1996). Her most recent work is The Poisonwood Bible, a story of the wife and four daughters of a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. A tale of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction, over the course of three decades in post-colonial Africa, The Poisonwood Bible is set against one of history's most dramatic political parables. It is a compelling exploration of religion, conscience, imperialist arrogance and the many paths to redemption?and Barbara Kingsolver's most ambitious work ever.

Barbara Kingsolver presently lives outside of Tucson with her husband Steven Hopp, and her two daughters, Camille from a previous marriage, and Lily, who was born in 1996. When not writing or spending time with her family, Barbara gardens, cooks, hikes, works as an environmental activist and human-rights advocate, and plays hand drums and keyboards with her husband, guitarist, Steven Hopp.

Given that Barbara Kingsolver's work covers the psychic and geographical territories that she knows firsthand, readers often assume that her work is autobiographical. "There are little things that people who know me might recognize in my novels," she acknowledges. "But my work is not about me. I don't ever write about real people. That would be stealing, first of all. And second of all, art is supposed to be better than that. If you want a slice of life, look out the window. An artist has to look out that window, isolate one or two suggestive things, and embroider them together with poetry and fabrication, to create a revelation. If we can't, as artists, improve on real life, we should put down our pencils and go bake bread."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Animal Dreams 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 100 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was okay...not as good as some of her others. She takes too many sidetracks and is too often on a tangent and you sit there and say to yourself "now where does this fit in the scene?" Then by the end she crams it all in like she got so tired in the other parts and tosses two years on a page, like its very rushed at the end. The main character is seriously damaged but then pulls her entire horrible life into perfect harmony in a blink of an eye. It just doesn't make it for me because of the quick draw magraw ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good but not her best
bubblegumdrop More than 1 year ago
I love the story of Codi's life and about everything that has happened to her since moving back to Grace. It's a great love story where the character goes back to her first love. There are parts where it does get really boring but then it gets to the point where i could not put it down. The fact that Codi doesnt have a good relationship with her father but stills go back to help him in his time of need really means alot to me. I like how Codi has grown through the book from forgetting to water he plants to teaching a hishschool class is really important.
Toros More than 1 year ago
In Animal Dreams, Codi Noline has parted from her beloved sister, Hallie, who has decided to journey to Nicaragua to lend her assistance to local farmers. An act that Codi comes to believe is heroic, in contrast to her own life and her own journey back to the place of her birth - Grace, Arizona. Struggling with memories she can no longer recall, feeling utterly adrift wherever she may be, Codi sees nothing heroic in herself, nothing worthwhile. And bereft of a sense of belonging, she arrives back home already preparing to leave yet again. Unless she can somehow find meaning, not only in where she resides and the people around her, but in herself. This is now the second novel that I have read from Barbara Kingsolver, and I am enchanted. Kingsolver is a wonderful writer. I am stunned at how well she can imbue seemingly simple characters and places and events with such unnerving, yet compelling complexity. Her prose is smooth, her language so real, yet so inspiring. A beautiful work indeed.
katsie89 More than 1 year ago
I LOVE Animal Dreams. Beautiful language, imagery, and characters. The ending made me cry, which has only happened with my most favorite novels. I disagree with other reviewers. I prefer Animal Dreams to the Bean Trees. I began to read the BT after AD, and couldn't get into it nearly as much as Animal Dreams. I recommend this book to people often!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i wasnt too crazy for this book. the parts i really liked were when she was with loyd, but otherwise i could take-or-leave the book.
jojosimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Still my favourite of all her books, with Prodigal Summer and The Bean Trees coming in a close second. Love the heroine, love her father, and adore the romantic hero. My kind of guy.
amariedorsey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An all-time favorite!
oldblack on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a lot. I was originally put off by reading that it was a book with a "political" story. Sure, it has political implications, but it's primarily a book about personal relationships, like Kingsolver's other books (the ones I've read, anyway). There are, however, multiple levels in the story, and the reader can choose to focus on the aspect which holds most interest. I found the father-daughter relationship to be of particular interest, because I am an aging, decaying father myself, but all the characters seemed quite real to me, notwithstanding the fact that I know nothing about native americans.
BookWorm4307 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a true gem of a story. While I followed along with the story of Codi I found myself looking at my own life and what truth means to each individual. It is a woven embroidery of love, family, faith, truth, mystery, and so much more. It is captivating and inspiring. The main character Codi Noline takes an odyssey to find herself when she returns to her hometown Grace, Arizona and finds that she never had to go so far away to find the answers that she had longed for. Kingsolver does not disappoint.
Gingersnap000 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book was given to me by a dear friend who believed it would touch my soul and she was so correct! I cried at the end of the book because the characters of Codi and the entire town of Grace, AZ became my faux neighbors. Life in a small town where the majority of the population can trace their lineage back to a family of sisters who traveled from Spain to marry is way too confining for Codi and her Sister Halle who were outsiders and motherless. They were strangers in a strange land.Codi has been running from the town of Grace since the day she left for college but now her father, Doc Homer needs her. Codi takes a job as a science teacher to be close to her father who is fighting dementia. The reader is swept into this novel of soul touching emotions by the characters and the landscape of Arizona. I have the opportunity to travel to Arizona and even attended a wedding on a Native America reserve but never truly knew the history and traditions of the native americans of this state. Discovering the traditions of another culture be it in the United States or a foreign country makes a fascinating read for this LibraryThing member. I find it extremely difficult to comprehend why readers found this book boring because it was complex, witty and full of love of the land and the human spirit.
PrincessPaulina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So what exactly constitutes "chick lit"?Is it a preoccupation with women's themes, a focus on relationships, a personal (in this case melancholy)writing tone?Since "Animal Dreams" contains each of these elements, and seems unlikely to be read by very many straight men, it must be chic lit.Yet while the chick lit label has a"fluffy" connotation, possibly due to its association with cheap romance novels, this is unfortunate because "Animal Dreams" is undoubtedly a well written and poignant book..Kingslover has an elegant writing style, despite employing too many similes. Her characters are all multi-dimensional (though the protagonist's emotional issues may come across as whiny). Finally, the ecological theme sometimes felt forced, as if the author needed a more substantial topic to throw into the chick-lit mix. But despite some reservations, the story did tie nicely together in the end.
tipsister on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a woman in her 30's (I can relate) who has spent most of her adult like forgetting her past. The actual memories she does have, she doesn't quite believe in. She and her sister grew up in a strict home with their widowed father. He was the town doctor in a small town in Arizona and she never thought she fit in with the town. She later finds out that she is as much a part of the town as anyone else.When her sister Hallie, who we only know through letters and memories, leaves for Nicaragua during the time of the Contras crisis, Codi decides to go back to her home town. Her main reason for going home is to see her father who is suffering from Alzheimer's. She accepts a job as the biology teacher at the high school and falls into a romance with Loyd, a man who she has a past with.The story follows a year in Codi's life. She faithfully writes to her sister and occasionally visits her father. She becomes involved with a campaign to help save the town from an environmental pollutant. The biggest challenge she faces is finding her past. She begins to remember her life in the town of Grace and faces her future.The book takes place in the mid 80's but is timely in its environmental tone. It all still fits! I was a little lost about the political issues in Nicaragua and Honduras because I was in middle and high school at the time. I was fairly unaware of big news at the time. I do recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Barbara Kingsolver. She's consistently good.
Naberius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don't remember anymore how many times I have read this book. Every time I pick it up, it's like visiting with old friend - that's how good it is. Kingsolver's characters here are interesting and sympathetic, and I love how the setting is really a character all by itself. Also, the historical part of the story that weaves through the current parts of the story make it even more interesting. I love parts of the story, especially where Cody meets Loyd's family... and discovers bread. Ah yes, bread junkies unite!
cameling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book about a woman who's been skating through life without really knowing what she wants out of it, and who's searching for her soul without knowing she's doing so. Her journey was amazing and it was thrilling to share it to such a wonderful end.
chmessing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another solid book from Barbara Kingsolver. She writes so convincingly with such detail about such a wide range of topics. Fascinating stuff.
minnesotadebbie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Of all the Kingsolver books I've read, this is probably my least favorite, but even so it's a "good read." There are powerful images and fascinating descriptions, and I always find her science and environmental agenda fascinating. (I know this is not universal....) When she tells the story from the father's point of view, I am always touched. As Codi, though, I am sometimes less convinced. Maybe it's an attempt to show that one can't be both a detached observer and a participant in life. The sexy Indian boyfriend is some sort of "noble savage" stereotype I thought Kingsolver was above. All in all, while parts of the book work for me, and a few scenes are memorable, I'd say she has since developed greatly, both in her fiction and essays.
memasmb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Barbara Kingsolver has become a favourite author. Her technique of weaving a story that many others can relate to is fascinating. The book contains themes of the land, family, and searching for a place to make a contribution.Some people drift through their lives never stopping to examine the important things that surround them. Kingsolver can make you stop and look at what is around you and make a connection that you never saw before.I recommend this book to all those readers that never feel they are a part of the community. It makes you look a events, dreams and relationships in a new awakening way.
Katie_H on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For me, the jury is still out on Kingsolver. While I did enjoy Animal Dreams, I haven't quite decided whether this is chick lit or something more substantial. Codi Noline hesitantly returned to her childhood home in Arizona to care for her ailing father. She thought she had been done with the place, so as she returned, she promised herself to leave within the year. Meanwhile, her beloved sister is headed to Nicaragua on a dangerous philanthropic mission. Codi rekindles the passion she had previously shared with Loyd Peregrina, an Apache trainman, and she is challenged to face the memories that she thought she'd hidden away forever. Kingsolver's characters are real, and the regional descriptions are extremely vivid; the reader gets a clear picture of the setting and is able to share the strong emotions that Codi experiences as she makes every attempt to find herself.
wordygirl39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's been a long time since I read this book but when I did I remember putting it in my top ten. I'll have to re-read it soon.
t1bnotown on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this book, but do not feel that I need to keep it with me. When I read it, I thought that the central issue was Codi's feelings of being disconnected. She never "nests" (creates a home atmosphere), she wanders from job to job never even intending to stay in most of them, and she's spent years living with someone with whom she feels no real connection. Her feelings of being disconnected begin with her relation to the town- her father felt disconnected for being part of the "bad" family below everyone else, so he tried to reverse it for his daughters, whom he told were above everyone else. This resulted in their feeling as disconnected as him, but in different ways. Another thing that contributes to Codi's feelings of disconnectedness is her miscarriage- she loses that thing she was connected to- the baby. The baby is also the product of one of the few connections she made in the town, to Lloyd, and losing it meant losing a link to him, a link to the outside, and a part of herself. Throughout all this she feels too isolated from everyone to even talk about her experience. The kind of experience she has had- a teenage prenancy- contributes to the problem. This is something that girls (especially special girls as she has been told she is) are not supposed to have. It is something that no one wants to talk about, and the fact that it has happened becomes one more brick in her barrier.Her experience throughout the book is one of understanding her disconnection and reestablishing her connection. She reestablishes her connections when she takes an active interest in the town, gets to know people, and generally becomes involved. Finding the stones at the cemetary, the pictures of her and her sister, and putting the pieces together that her family is actually part of the town are equally important. Finally, establishing a meaningful, close relationship with Lloyd, multiple members of the town, and her father allows her to share the experience of her miscarriage with others. In the end she doesn't get on the plane to Colerado because she has finally found a home.
ireed110 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Codi Noline has spent her whole life feeling that she didn't belong, first at the urging of her father, and then at her own insistence. When she comes home to Grace, Arizona after her sister Hallie moves to Nicaragua (not to "save the world," but to follow what she hopes for - the "possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neihther the destroyers nor the destroyed"), she slips into her old, comfortable role of outsider. This story is about Codi finding out that she belongs.I was quickly caught up in this story, and especially touched by the relationship between Codi and her father, described most eloquently with small intervals written in his point of view. Kingsolver succeeded in making Grace a real place that I could see in my own mind's eye, and understand as though I'd been there myself. There are several key relationship stories told in this novel - each has a role in bringing the main character to her new enlightenment.There is real tragedy in this story, and the sadness it made me feel overwhelmed the positive. I'm not sure that was the intention of the author, but it serves to me as a reminder that we all need to take responsibility for our relationships with our loved ones and with our surroundings. Well done.
kay135 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I connected with Animal Dreams so fast, so easily. It seemed as if the author knew me, and chose the right words to speak through her lead character. One of my very favorite books.
hockeycrew on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Definitely not my favorite Kingsolver book, but good none the less. Perhaps I didn't enjoy it as much because I couldn't relate to the lost soul that is Codi.
mlake on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book! There is something about the descriptions of the heart and the liver...I wrote in my copy and keep going back and rereading my favorite parts.