Monday, September 15, 2014

PIGS IN HEAVEN by Barbara Kingsolver

  Annawake Fourkiller, a Cherokee lawyer, recognizes Turtle from a TV news clip, and wants to return her to the tribe.  However, Taylor adopted Turtle after a woman dumped Turtle in Taylor’s car.  Now Taylor and Turtle are inseparable, and they try to disappear.  Taylor soon finds that life on the lam is no picnic, especially since no employer is going to allow Turtle to come along, and day care options are non-existent.  When Taylor’s mother Alice seeks out her long-lost Cherokee cousin, Alice becomes romantically involved with Cash, who turns out to be Turtle’s biological grandfather.  Obviously, there’s got to be some middle ground here that will make everyone happy.  I found it hard to side with Annawake on this conundrum, given that Turtle was physically and sexually abused before she found asylum in Taylor’s car.  Losing their children to outsiders, though, has long been a sticking point with the tribe, who want to make sure that their kids understand their heritage.  Losing one’s ancestral identity seems to me to be a small price to pay for personal safety and well-being, but Turtle’s abusers are out of the picture, and her grandfather is a kind man who has long been deprived of contact with his granddaughter.  This is a sticky situation, and Kingsolver handles it with her usual compassion and tenderness.  My favorite character is Jax, Taylor’s laidback boyfriend, who is honest to a fault and loves Taylor wholeheartedly.  What’s not to love about a musician whose band is called Irascible Babies?  Taylor and Turtle could do a lot worse.

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