I used to like Barbara Kingsolver and I owe my organic and local meat and veggie shopping to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. However, I was not at all impressed with this one.
As an intelligent girl from a white trash southern family, I can relate to Dellarobia a bit. I know how hard it is to be the only person who values education and learning in a group, although the whole "What modern parent wanted her kids to be Little Smarties? The word was a rebuke: smart-mouth, smarty-pants. Don't get smart with me. didn't mesh with the idea that her character does value intelligence.
Also, I did not really find Dellarobia all that intelligent. After all, she allowed herself to get knocked up while still in high school (clearly ruining her college plans) and she does still believe in God and she does have a hard time reconciling her world view with the impressive Dr. Byron's scientific realm. And, she is also kind of a fluezy who is chasing after a whole bunch of men. I know, at the end, she decides to leave Cub and go back to school and she is on the cusp of a new life (not only new, but different and better than the one she would have had if she had gone through with the infidelity to which she runs during the first scene). But it was just tooo blech. Too sappy and too "lifetime-movie-y" and not really all that believable to me. I guess if Dellarobia was really different then we would have seen more of that throughout. And if she was not different, well then she wouldn't notice the things that she does (and that the rest of the hicks do not).
I was also annoyed at the repetition. This book could have been half of it's length, but Kingsolver felt that we (idiot readers that we are) needed to be told about the butterflies and the implications (no, not Global warning, that doesn't really exist!) of the change in the migrations every few pages or so. I swear, Byron and Dellarobia had the same conversation on people believing in things that they can't see at least three times. Similarly, we had to keep being told that it was not a good thing that the butterflies were there and that surviving the cold was hard, but the warmth cold be worse for their survival.
I also thought the whole Hester-Bobby thing was unnecessary extra drama. It does not make Hester more complex, it just makes the world too small and the plot flimsy.
That said, it was an easy enough read and I did like: "underpaid people cranking out things for underpaid people to buy and use up, living their lives mostly to cancel each other out. A worldwide entrapment of bottom feeders."
Overall, I wasn't impressed and have probably decided that Kingsolver is not worth the time in the future.