I'd been wanting to read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for a couple of years before I finally did recently. And I've known I should read some of her other stuff too, as I've been told she's a fantastic writer and storyteller. I think the first time I knew of her was when Oprah chose her book The Poisonwood Bible for her book club in 2000. During my book club's December meeting we exchanged used books Dirty Santa-style and I ended up with Kingsolver's Animal Dreams and I finished reading it a couple of weeks ago.
I really enjoyed it. It turned out to be one of my favorite kinds of stories, the kind when a female character, in need of a life change, takes a chance and good things come about. While all that was going on, the main character, Codi Noline, who graduated from medical school but never became a doctor, discovered while wading around in a creek with her high school biology students, that the living microorganisms that should have been flourishing there aren't. She sounds the alarm and gets the women from the local Stitch and Bitch Club riled up and they all start doing something about it.
It reminded me so much (in a good way) of the movie Erin Brockovich that I ordered it off Netflix and watched it the other night. The same kind of thing is going on. A mom, desperate for a job, begs for one at a small law firm, and is both pushy and likable enough that she both convinces her boss to keep her and convinces the residents of Hinkley, California, to trust her to help hold the nearby corporation that was ruining the environment and their health. She even earns the respect she deserves from this evil corporation, its attorneys and anyone else who doubted her from the get-go.