The main problem with being late in discussing rereads is remembering exactly what struck me differently this time, as opposed to previously, and why I even felt like rereading that book. Here the whole string of rereads was probably a comfort thing, where I wasn’t in the mood for self-challenge, particularly. Not that these books aren’t thought-provoking, because they certainly are, about a whole range of issues, but at the same time I’ve read them a few times now and have been through those issues then.
This time, what I think I was noticing was the theme of control in the two books. The first is largely about Taylor being a person who wants to make her own life in her own way, with careful planning and saving taking her to an adventure that quickly off her expected route, with the addition to her life of Turtle. Accepting that addition, and allowing for the huge change in lifestyle needed from it, while still taking charge of her own adventure is Taylor’s challenge.
The second comes about four years later, when things are going pretty well for the two, and they have built up what seems to be a strong relationship of trust, which in a difficult way backfires on them as a good deed brings them to the attention of what could be the wrong people. Kingsolver’s gift here is to show us the many and very varied motivations of everyone involved, which are nearly all for what they consider the good, but still come out in decided opposition. Taylor does not react well to the rug being pulled out from under her, and in many ways it is the acceptance and wisdom of age which eventually overcomes the hotheadedness of two oppositely determined young women.