Flight Behavior Discussion Journal

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver was well-liked by most members at the meeting, but some of us found it a bit too preachy. One of us did not quite accept the concept of relocated butterflies, even though the author stated she had well-researched the possibility. The story covered so many concepts—marriage, love, poverty, education, the media, religion, global warming, monarch butterflies—we would be hard-pressed to find a book we have read this year with which we couldn’t compare it. At the start of the meeting, we watched a short clip of cascading monarchs in their natural, Mexican-mountain habitat.  We then watched a sheep being sheared.  Both of these scenes were described by the author in such detail that we all acknowledged our admiration of  Barbara Kingsolver’s writing.

We jumped to the end of the story because of several members’ dissatisfaction with the flooding—it seemed uncertain and surreal.  A good story left unfinished. One member wondered if Dellarobia might have actually been considering suicide. Others wanted to know what followed. Another compared the flood to the destruction of the original home of the butterflies, and still another to the unpredictable future posed by global warming.

Everyone seemed to agree that the presentation of the media was accurate.  Several members shared how the media focuses on the negative, increasing fear and unhealthy stereotypes. We discussed poverty and the cost of smoking. Could Dellarobia have really quit so completely? Was abortion never mention or considered because of the location, the religion, or something else?  Do Americans distrust science? How are we supposed to know what to believe? Members shared personal stories that underscore the power of the book in helping us generate discussion.

Most members have read Barbara Kingsolver’s work before and especially recommend The Poisonwood Bible. So many books . . .

  • Other works discussed:
  • Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell
  • Philomena (Film currently in theaters) Judi Dench
  • An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore
  • Inequality for All (Film released this fall) Robert Reich

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