We had read one of Barbara Kingsolver’s books before, “The Poisonwood Bible” and we all loved it, so it was easy to agree to read her newest book, “Flight Behavior”. Although we weren’t as impressed as with “The Poisonwood Bible”, it was still pretty good.
The premise of the book is that climate change could affect the behavior of Monarch butterflies, causing them to migrate only as far south as Tennessee, rather than all the way to Mexico.
A local lady, Dellarobia, first discovers the millions of butterflies; then the area becomes a national maelstrom of people that the local folks don’t quite understand. To add sex appeal, there is also a very handsome and charming biologist that Dellarobia fancies who has been studying the butterflies for years and is trying to figure out why they stopped in Tennessee.
It starts out with a very nice description of the area and Dellarobia’s walk up the mountain to visit a potential lover. She gets awed by the butterflies, has a spiritual moment and turns around to go home to her family rather than going through with the tryst.
Parts of the book tend to drag on, and on, and on … For instance, Dellarobia and her friend go shopping and it takes a whole chapter to describe every little thing they look at and talk about. It was hard to get through.
It helps if you’re an environmentalist, because the premise of the book is very interesting. What will happen to the Monarchs as the climate warms? Certainly they have adapted to changing climate over the millennia, but this time around it’s happening relatively rapidly and it’s hard to know if they will be able to adapt quickly enough.
Similar to “The Poisonwood Bible”, Barbara Kingsolver weaves together a book with a social message, some real scientific research, and a fictional plot line meant to engage the reader. Aside from a few long slow chapters, it’s really another brilliant book by a talented writer.