Not the best children's fantasy book available by a long shot, but certainly not the worst, and lovers of fantasy all owe a great debt to L. Frank Baum for opening up fantasy lands to book length stories.
Like The Patchwork Girl of Oz , Barbara Kingsolver's Pigs in Heaven wraps up a bit too neatly. Unlike Ojo, however, all of the characters in Pigs in Heaven must do their own transforming in order to reach any resolution. As with my recent re-reading of The Bean Trees, I was expecting Pigs in Heaven not to live up to my memory, and, as with The Bean Trees, was pleasantly surprised to find I still love the book. The Kentucky and Okie accents don't bother me the way they did when I first read it , probably because I've met more people who really do speak the ways the characters do-- maybe they aren't there just for cutesy "local color." The tension about what it takes to be a good mother matters all the more to me, and I've never been particularly bothered by plots that hang on unlikely coincidences (of course the character's lives are going to intersect, that's why we've been learning about them in the first place). In this reading I did pick up my SiL's issue with the rain in Seattle: Barbara, in Seattle it is wet but it does not rain hard all the time, it is not like living in a car wash. It's amazing how one detail wrong can really throw the experience of a whole book. In this reading I also didn't see any compelling explanation for why I had to move to Scotland without fully discussing it with my college boyfriend, which I somehow did in 1994, when I instructed said boyfriend to read both The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven in order to understand me. With those caveats being made, like my on-line kindred spirit Marieke, I'm happy to report that Kingsolver's novels feel different with age, but no worse for wear.
You can't think too much about luck, good or bad. Taylor has decided
this before, and at this moment renews her vow. Lucky Buster is lucky
to be alive and unlucky to have been born with the small wits that led him
to disaster in the first place. Or lucky, too, for small wits, that allow
him so little inspection of the big picture. In the ambulance on the way to
the hospital, he wanted to go to McDonald's. (pg. 32)