This month my friends and I read Animal Dreams. We all enjoyed the book, but we found it difficult to explain the plot-line or summarize the what of the story to other individuals.
Frankly, it’s quite a read. Barbara Kingsolver dives into the human experience. The story begins very obscure, and well a bit odd. But that is true to Kingsolver’s writing style – obscure, interesting, and extraordinarily thought-provoking.
The story revolves around Codi. She moves back to her hometown to check in with her ailing father. At the very beginning you learn a few things about Codi, she feels out of place in her own skin, she considers herself an orphan and she had a miscarriage at the age of 15.
Kingsolver takes us on a journey with Codi as she explores the ideas of family connections, love, dreams, trauma, death and the essence of home. Codi has to come to terms with her past. Remember it, accept it and let it go. Only in doing so can she accept love and find a sense of purpose and home. It’s the ultimate “What am I, why am I here, where in the world do I belong, how can I keep living despite the hardships …” exploration.
I truly enjoyed this book as I have of Kingsolver’s other great novels. However, the ending seemed rushed and incomplete.
***Potential Spoiler Ahead***
Kingsolver does a beyond fantastic job in setting up the story allowing the reader to deep dive into Codi’s mind. Through almost 300 pages of despair, and what can only be described as depression, all of sudden, out of nowhere, Codi sees the light in a sense.
I re-read and re-read Codi’s euphoria moment probably 3-5 times wondering if I missed some powerful meaning somewhere. I didn’t. And I’m not alone in this assessment. The story-line set the reader up for a couple crucial conversations that never occurred, or that the reader doesn’t have the chance to experience. There were a few questions left unanswered.
Again though I did enjoy it. It’s one that makes you think, question and re-consider. A great story for a book club for sure. It allowed us to explore the literary elements while sharing our personal experiences on family traditions, deaths and relationships.
If you’ve read it, let me know what you think. Only $9.80 on Amazon here.