It may be dreary and rainy out there today, but not all is lost: We have a brand new 50 Book Pledge Featured Read for you to get excited about, Savvy Readers! Up this week: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver (amazing last name, even better writer).
You likely know Barbara Kingsolver from the incredible The Poisonwood Bible, which has become a modern classic of sorts in the 20 years since its release. Though different in plot and structure, Unsheltered is just as beautifully brilliant as that classic. So what are we waiting for? Let’s dive in!
Interweaving the past and present to explore the human capacity for resilience and compassion in times of great upheaval, Unsheltered seeks to answer some of the universal questions that plague people to this day. Questions like, “How could two hardworking people do everything right in life and end up in destitute?” and “How can a man tell the truth, and be reviled for it?”
For the story of the first question, we’re introduced to Willa Knox and her husband. Responsible parents, partners, and professionals, the couple has nothing to show for their lives lived the “proper way” except for seemingly insurmountable debt and an inherited brick house that is falling apart. To add insult to injury, both Willa and her husband have lost their jobs – the magazine Willa worked at folded, and the college where her husband held tenure folded. On top of all of these stressors, their rundown house is the only option left for a disabled father-in-law and an exasperating, free-spirited daughter. Even their successes start to crumble when their Ivy League-educated son returns home after a horrible tragedy with dark complications of his own…
Now, let’s flash back in time to the story of Thatcher Greenwood (another amazing name, by the way) to address the second question. A science teacher who devotes his life to the empirically honest study of science, he finds himself under siege when he is forbidden from talking about the groundbreaking work just published by who other than Charles Darwin himself. To make matters worse, Thatcher finds himself in a precarious position, as his new wife and social-climbing mother-in-law want him to avoid the risk of scandal entirely. Oh, and, much like his future counterparts in the Knox family, he fears that his house is not up to snuff. Living in a makeshift utopic village and torn between his duties to his family and his science, Thatcher’s life is about to get a whole lot more complicated, as a friendship with a fellow female scientist and a newspaper editor threaten to draw him into a vendetta with the town’s most powerful men. So much for that utopia, eh?
Unsheltered is Barbara Kingsolver at her very best. Not only does she write beautifully and craft expertly told stories, but she does it in such a readable, enjoyable way, which is really no easy task. In telling a reflective story across two distinct generations, Barbara Kingsolver tackles some of the most difficult questions that people still ask themselves today. Also, as I’ve mentioned like five times, the names of her characters are SO. COOL.
Will you be picking up this brilliant, beautiful, and wonderfully written novel, Unsheltered? We sure hope so! Add it to your 50 Book Pledge shelf today. And let us know what you think of it on Twitter @SavvyReader!
Happy reading and stay dry!