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The Bean Trees Taylor born Marietta grew up in Pittman Kentucky a small rural town where families had kids just about as fast as they could fall down the well and drown and a boy with a job as a gas-meter man was considered a high-class catch She needs to get out to get ahead and to avoid pregnancy She succeeds on both counts when she buys a 55 Volkswagen and heads west She leaves almost everything behind including her name Taylor is the name she adopts when she runs out of gas in Taylorville Illinois When her steering fails somewhere in central Oklahoma in country owned by the Cherokee nation she stops for repairs at a roadside service station A Cherokee woman looks at Taylor and sees a chance for her dead sisters child to escape a life of abuse and alcoholism She hands the child over to Taylor and disappears Taylors journey of self-discovery suddenly becomes a transition into a relationship where she is not the most important person Taylor and her adopted child Turtle travel to Tucson Arizona where more car troubles land them at a shop known as Jesus Is Lord Used Tires The owner of this odd establishment is a woman named Mattie a serene big-hearted soul who shelters political refugees from Guatemala and who gives Taylor a job Taylor and Turtle find a room with Lou Ann Ruiz a self-described ordinary Kentuckian a long way from home and her newborn baby Dwayne Ray The relationship between these two single mothers one never married one divorcing and their relationships with the people around them are the focus of the story After a few months Taylor needs to rent an apartment She ends up sharing an apartment with Lou Ann and her son Dwayne Ray Together Taylor Turtle Mattie two refugees Lou Ann and Dwayne Ray learn about friendship and belonging Their lessons are learned through many experiences including
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