Tag Archives: Low-income

JUST FINISHED: Flight Behavior

Author: Barbara Kingsolver

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

So I was in the mood for a decent good book and couldn’t resist picking up one by my favorite author, Barbara Kingsolver. Flight Behavior deals with a young woman, Dellarobia, going through a trying period in her life.

The novel begins with Dellarobia on her way to ending her marriage by means of an affair. To not expel crucial details, Dellarobia’s life is one that leaves a rushed, trapped feeling. Living in a small town infatuated with the show of religion, the main character was forced to marry her husband in high school after realizing she was pregnant. Like a true gunshot wedding, her in-laws immediately tied them together and even built them their own house on their land.

Fast forward some time and now they have two children and are living the average low-income life in small-town America. She has a husband who cares because it’s what he’s supposed to do, a mother-in-law that can never be pleased, and one friend who is the only person she is able to relate to.

Dellarobia’s life takes a major turn when she discovers a community of monarchs residing on a small mountain that is on their land. Seeing something so amazing and full of life makes her reconsider her own situation and what she can do about it.

Being from a small town myself, Kingsolver’s depiction of the people and their line of thought was spot on. When you live in a community that small, everybody’s business is everybody’s business. Gossip is like wildfire, being different is frowned on, and the only immediate concern of the future is the high school football team’s possible winning status. Most people live day to day in terms of income and life beyond the town limits is just a dream.  It’s a tired cycle that needs to be broken and, as Kingsolver and I would agree, education is the key to breaking it.

Kingsolver even takes on the heavy topic of climate change in this novel. She puts a forthright opinion on the severity that we have dealt to the planet through carbon monoxide to logging. She goes on to explain how these items are causing fundamental changes in the Earth’s ecosystems, causing strange weather patterns and natural disasters previously unheard of.

She twists the knife even further on this issue by blatantly stating that the damage is done. The changes are already in process and what we do now can’t help. We can only study it and try to predict the outcome. And the outcome may be a bad one.

This novel also tenderly delves on the issues of a broken marriage. Kingsolver does a spectacular job portraying the wave of feelings and erratic thoughts that a person can experience when trying to consider if this is how they want their life to continue on. There are very substantial questions that an individual has to deal with when really examining themselves spiritually and mentally. Kingsolver takes these questions head on in this book, giving Dellarobia realistic character growth and making her very human.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you’re in the mood for a well written personal and internal drama, you will too.