Reader reviews and comments on Prodigal Summer, plus links to write your own review.

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Prodigal Summer

by Barbara Kingsolver

Prodigal Summer
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2000, 464 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2001, 434 pages

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There are currently 7 reader reviews for Prodigal Summer
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Sue Mayor (04/22/10)

Novel or biology textbook?
Overall I enjoyed 'The Prodigal Summer' as a novel with interesting and well-defined characters.

However since the author is a skilled novelist she should stick to wring novels and not spend so much time trying to impress readers with her knowledge of biology. This may be of more interest to Americans familiar with the flora and fauna described but does not resonate with readers unfamiliar with the American countryside.
celeste (02/07/05)

it is a very good, but it moves too slowly for my taste.
Pam (04/11/03)

Today I finished reading Prodigal Summer and I feel like I want to tell Barbara Kingsolver just how much I enjoyed her novel. All 3 stories were so wonderful, the characters so interesting and I spent 3 nights reading very late to find out just what Deanna and Eddie were going to do or what would happen to Lusa. It took a bit longer for me to connect with Walker but when I did, his story was equally interesting. It's a great book. I loved Poisonwood Bible, Hightide in Tucson and Animal Dreams but Prodigal Summer was the best. In fact how do you get any better than this??? I am in awe of her writing.
Tina (11/16/02)

I just finished this book and really hated to see it end, I cried at what Jewel wanted to say to her children. I am very moved at how this book made me think of the fragile part all of the inhabiants on earth play in this dance called life. Her descriptions of all the charcters made me feel as if I knew them. I don't really know the words to say how much it meant to me to read a book like this.
Carl D. Esbjornson (10/30/02)

People and the land. Barbara Kingsolver's great achievement in Prodigal Summer is to render this relationship between the complicated lives of the main characters and the natural world with a kind of unforced seamlessness that avoids didacticism, while still getting the message across--that people's lives, and their stories, are also about places. In this way, Ms. Kingsolver reminds me of a fellow Kentuckian, Wendell Berry, while being very much herself, writing in her characteristicly witty, funny, passionate, humane style so that all the characters, their relationships, and their place on earth matter to the reader. What makes the novel interesting is that I do not always like the characters or agree with their choices, but in the end I love them for their heart, their courage. These lives are not idealized; the relationships are difficult and the land and its creatures are sometimes shown to be abused. But the characters in the novel work hard to heal, reconcile, or come to peace with all these relationships, sometimes with mixed results. The results may be mixed but they are also redemptive, and hard-earned. This Edenic narrow valley in Appalachia is not a perfect world, away from it all, but a place where the characters have to face their own truth from which they can neither run nor hide.

Rather than say more, however, I'll just say this: Barbara Kingsolver belongs in a category of writers beyond the mere great; she belongs in that most select category of all--the writers I love. Why? Because she teaches us to find our deepest humanity in a dehumanizing age, to sing, make love, dance for joy when our lives are hurting, and to help others whose lives are also hurting, to find one another through compassion, understanding, and love.

Enough. Read her. Maybe read her novel similar to the way I did this summer, listening to the music of mountain water beside a stream in a campsite in a long, narrow valley up the Boulder River in Montana where I live, surrounded by the Absoraka-Beartooth massifs looming five thousand feet above the valley floor, where a moose or a bear may wander through the campground. When you are in country where it is just you, God, and the grizzly bear, and you are reading this novel, then you begin to realize what is really at stake, and what really matters, and matters more than money, possessions, social and professional status or power, namely, that we humans have one job and one job only--to love and care for each other and the earth--the toughest, most challenging, and most necessary job of all in a broken world. Author Bill Kittredge says, "Our stories heal us." I believe him. And Barbara Kingsolver is one author who confirms my belief.
Angie (05/25/02)

Enjoyed reading this book. The characters are very memorable. I keep thinking about them long after finishing the story. I even see people who remind me of the characters.
Rich Alan (03/10/02)

An excellent book with vivid descriptions that leap from the pages. What appear to be three separate stories of love and sensuality - encompassing three generations (the young, middle aged and "senior" citizens), we find are actually closely connected to one another. The writer provides wonderous insights into nature, survival, dependency and the human need to connect and create.
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