To be perfectly honest, I have never really given much thought to the importance of butterflies to this fragile china cup we call nature. I know they look pretty, and something something about nectar. However, Barbara Kingslover’s novel Flight Behavior truly did make me see their importance, and it was an excellent way of bringing the reader in on caring about climate change and the effects that it has. She does this while also portraying the honest realistic reactions to climate change that we see today. The bickering between the two sides leading to constant stalemate over what we should actually do about the problem before it’s too late, until inevitably, it is too late (as it always is).
While Kingslover does do a very good job of realistically portraying the situation, I can’t help but agree with everyone else that the pacing is downright awful. I don’t need it to be a high octane thrill ride, but I’d kind of prefer a general sense of forward momentum throughout. However, this is simply not the case. Kingslover takes her time and meanders through the story, which depending on the book, can often work very well. I don’t necessarily think it works to her advantage in this instance. When you’re trying to use your book as a method of informing people about climate change, you have to keep their attention throughout so as to convey the entire message. In the deliberate pacing of the book, my attention was fairly consistently strained, and it only serves to reinforce the stereotype that climate change is a boring subject, which should never be the case.
I can’t honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed the book, or that I would necessarily recommend it. However, for what it was, it was more or less exactly what it needed to be. Kingslover was able to give a real honest portrayal of climate change without resorting to the Hollywood method of blowing its effects out of proportion. In that sense it was very subtle, and often even refreshing in parts. It was just a little too subtle for its own good most of the time.