Customer Reviews for

Prodigal Summer

Average Rating 4.5
( 180 )
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(107)

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(41)

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(14)

2 Star

(10)

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(8)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

One of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors

This book is very sensual and the descriptions of summer and the way all animals and insects communicate through non-verbal methods is beautiful and memorable. It is beautifully written and a great introduction to this author if you haven't read her before. If you lik...
This book is very sensual and the descriptions of summer and the way all animals and insects communicate through non-verbal methods is beautiful and memorable. It is beautifully written and a great introduction to this author if you haven't read her before. If you like Barbara Kingsolver you will love this book.

posted by jburke on January 2, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Really Boring

I don't understand what all these other reviewers saw that I didn't see, but I thought this book was very boring. Way too many details about everything. I breezed over a lot to try and just get through it because I don't like to give up on a book, but I put this one a...
I don't understand what all these other reviewers saw that I didn't see, but I thought this book was very boring. Way too many details about everything. I breezed over a lot to try and just get through it because I don't like to give up on a book, but I put this one away unfinished.

posted by Anonymous19 on May 2, 2010

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    One of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors

    This book is very sensual and the descriptions of summer and the way all animals and insects communicate through non-verbal methods is beautiful and memorable. It is beautifully written and a great introduction to this author if you haven't read her before. If you like Barbara Kingsolver you will love this book.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2009

    A terrific book altogether! It made me hungry for a sequel to discover how the many touching characters fared ultimately. The future is hinted at, temptingly. I wanted more.

    All of the characters came alive as I followed their storylines, intersecting then beginning the underpinings of merging into families. The only part where I felt a trifle indoctrinated was with the need to preserve predatory animals. Deanna went on and on, reinforcing a zealous theme. I got it, I got it!
    Each of the characters was totally enticing. Did Luba make a good profit on her lambs? Did Little Ricky get a girlfriend or become a world traveler? How did Crys fare after her mom died? Did Deanna stay with Nanny and raise the baby in town? Did the cayotes live in peace?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2002

    Erotics of Place

    I have a hunger for words, and for nature writing, that only Kingsolver knows how to feed. In non-fiction, that hunger often moves me to pluck an Annie Dillard volume from the shelves¿ in fiction, it frequently moves me to open a novel by Barbara Kingsolver. She always satisfies. With her background as a biologist, Kingsolver always teaches me something I did not know about the natural world around us - and in us. As her characters in 'Prodigal Summer' know so well, we are one with this planet we live on. Abuse it, and we abuse ourselves. Nurture it, and we nurture ourselves. Her message of respect for the intricate and wonderful plan of nature is strong, but not overpowering. It is neither didactic nor preachy. That's important. The kind of rebel spirit required today to resist both physical and spiritual pollution would resist preaching. But her passion for the beauty of earth and her fascination with how involved a chain of life we are woven into blends easily and cleanly with her skill as a fiction writer. We read a good story and we learn a bit about natural biology - and the learning is painless. The knit of the two is tight and effective. As a woman reader, I also commend this woman author's presentation of such strong female characters. Hurrah! These are sensual women, the older ones fully as much as the younger ones, and they buckle to no one. Yet strength does not mean an inability to love. Women have known this¿ well, forever. To allow emotion to blossom with this kind of lushness is something women have always understood as the epitome of strength. These strong women understand sacrifice. They understand, and give in with gusto and abandon to, the most sensual pleasures. This, too, is our biology, and Kingsolver writes these scenes with mastery and appetite. Her women have spunk and fire. They have tenderness in their touch as well as hard muscle. They may not be able to save the earth¿ but they will certainly try.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2008

    For lovers of nature and lovers of life, young and old

    With this book, Barbara Kingsolver has won the place in my heart as my favorite author. This is a book for lovers of nature and lovers of life, young and old. Beware: It'll make a scientist want to throw off her lab coat and plunge her hands in the soil, it'll make a farmer want to return to the old-fashioned (organic) methods, and it just might make you a better neighbor wherever you live.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2006

    Appalachian Location is Perfection

    Ms. Kingsolver does a wonderful job of creating very real characters in a very real location--the Appalachian Mountains. You get to know a handful of people and the facets of their lives that, eventually, intertwine together via their close proximity, both geographically speaking and also by the ecosystem that connects them all. I found myself making note of the lines that really spoke to me--I couldn't dismiss their profoundness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2002

    Prodigal Summer

    Recently during one of my occasional evenings at Barnes & Noble searching the shelves for good books and authors to read, I picked up a hardcover of Prodigal Summer. Upon reading the publisher's review, I immediately became interested in the story and its environmental issues because I grew up near the Great Smoky Mountains and now get back there as often as I can to those peaceful and beautiful mountains that I love and am concerned about. Reading Prodigal Summer was like being home and when I finished it in a few short nights, I was sad to leave the mountains and lose dear friends. Kingsolver's style and imagination, her vivid descriptions and knowledge of nature and the outdoors, and her concerns and messages are poetic and unforgetable and I could almost feel the woods and hear the sounds as I read. Prodigal Summer was the first I've read by Kingsolver, but not the last. I'm headed to Barnes & Noble to buy more of what she's written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2014

    She writes like a poet and leaves a trail of thought provoking s

    She writes like a poet and leaves a trail of thought provoking substance.

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  • Posted June 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    fascinating and beautiful....

    This is the second time (so far) that I've read Prodigal Summer and I love it just as much as I did the first time. This thought provoking novel is full of so much relevant dialogue. And I never thought I'd learn so much about the natural world just by reading a novel! There are in depth discussions about coyotes and predator/prey relationships as well as insects and a whole host of other living creatures. There are interesting arguments about the use of pesticides and the harm that they do. But this book isn't just about trees and coyotes, it's about human interaction as well. Prodigal Summer is a fascinating, beautiful testament to nature.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    Consider past, present and future

    This book was a required reading for a club I belong to. When I first began to read it I was disappointed - thought it was going to be a 'romance' of sorts. As I continued to read (and opened my mind) I found this book to be stimulating, moving, enlightening and certainly thought provoking. I want to better understand the relationship we have with our environment and how we can benefit from it while protecting it. This book was wonderful. I am so glad I read past the first part. I appreciate the way Kingsolver taught the reader through beautiful narrative. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who knows it is time to protect and enjoy what we have.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2009

    My favorite book of all time

    This is my favorite book and I reread it every year, delighted with the story, the humor, and the poetic prose of Barbara Kingsolver everytime.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Prodigal Summer

    This was a life changing book for me. My book club loved it too.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2008

    I Listened to it

    I bought a copy of the book for someone who reads novels. However, she passed away unexpectedly so I gave it to the local library. As for me, I don't like to read novels I have lots of serious non-fiction to read/write, so I want someone to READ novels to me. Aahh, story hours at the library when I was a kid! Anyway, I greatly enjoyed listening to a library copy of 'Prodigal Summer' and thought the intended recipient would, too. As far as analysis of the book, I don't like to analyze, just enjoy and sometimes learn new things.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2008

    Profound and beautifully written

    This book now tops the list of my favorites. Anything I could write about it will not do it justice. Just read it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2007

    deightful read- both a wonderful retreat and educational tome

    If everyome would read this novel it would be great for this planet in the snse of opening doors of simple understanding to the natural world. While the intertwined stories of love are easy to experience and fall into- the best is the how small actions can make a difrerence on many fronts. Moths and coyotes all the sudden will have a greater audience- and tha is a good thing. Enjoy! have turned this book onto many people and haven't had one yet that didn't agree it is Kingslovers best!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2006

    wind

    Oh gosh! this book just rocks! her talent is undeniable and everything she writes is pretty much fabulous. I'm in love with it. buy it and you will enjoy the experience!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2006

    wonderful

    I absolutely loved this book. All three stories whose lives were somehow intertwined were wonderful. The part I loved the most were the characters' love for nature and respect for the earth and creatures who live on it. It gave a point of view from people who love and care about something other than making money and themselves, and all of Gods creatures who have no choice or say in how humans just keep destroying such amazing intricate ecosystems in the name of money and big business. All the women I know who read this book felt the same way and we all want Kingsolver to write a sequel of the next generations!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2004

    Blue Ridge Mountain Lover

    This is a beautifully written book. The author captured the essence of the mountains and the simple yet complex and wonderful cycle of life. Truly entertaining and educational. A book that makes one think.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2004

    Best book I've read in a long time

    I've read other books by Kingsolver, but The Prodigal Summer was by far the best. The characters were well developed and drew me in right from the start. I was especially entertained by Garnett. The weaving of the stories together really kept me interested.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2003

    Sequel ???? Please!!!

    It was a great read. I fell in love with the charactors. I hope you write a sequel. We need to know what happens to everyone. Thankyou!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2003

    An absorbing, thought-provoking read.

    Entomologist Lusa Landowski¿s year-old marriage to farmer Cole Widener ends with his death, as the summer of Barbara Kingsolver¿s fifth novel begins. That leaves city-reared Lusa to learn by herself, quickly, what she was trying to learn slowly with her husband¿s help: how to live on the land (something she always dreamed of doing), and how to fit herself into his large and contentious family (something that she, the only child of aging parents, never imagined). On a mountain above the Widener farm, Deanna Wolfe ¿ a wildlife biologist almost 20 years Lusa¿s senior ¿ lives in a primitive cabin and doesn¿t come down to civilization, even for vacations. She is the one authorized human resident of a game preserve, where she keeps the trails open ¿ sends poachers packing ¿ and watches the cycle of life and death, predators and prey, play itself out as season follows season. She¿s content there, but not enough to send an attractive wanderer named Eddie Bondo on his way. Retired agriculture teacher Garnett Walker III lives near the Widener farm, and works at breeding a blight-resistant American chestnut tree. That will be his legacy, now that his wife is dead and his only son estranged. If his neighbor and nemesis - organic farmer and free spirit (despite her own advancing years) Nannie Rawley ¿ doesn¿t drive him crazy first, that is! What ties together these people from three different generations, except inhabiting the southern Appalachians through a summer that is truly ¿prodigal¿ in its bounty? What do ¿Moth Love¿ (the title for each of Lusa Landowski¿s chapters), ¿Predators¿ (Deanna Wolfe¿s chapters), and ¿Old Chestnuts¿ (Garnett Walker III¿s chapters) have in common? I really can¿t tell you without giving too much away. Except that for each of Kingsolver¿s characters, this summer reveals unsuspected connections and teaches fresh (yet age old) lessons about nature. Human, and otherwise. An absorbing, thought-provoking read, in which the natural world becomes a living and breathing character all its own. Highly recommended!

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