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Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver

Book by Barbara Kingsolver

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  • Jun 23, 2010
This book is, in a word, captivating. I would go so far as to say that Kingsolver has left us with a work of truly epic proportions and consequence. This is a book to be read closely, studied deeply, and discussed openly.
The Poisonwood Bible takes us to the sticky, untamed jungle of the Congo, where an overzealous Baptist missionary has landed his family in the hopes of spreading Christianity. The novel’s narration alternates between the preacher’s wife and his four unique daughters as they struggle to adapt to the foreign landscape. Failed attempts to apply Western procedures to life in the Congo make it immediately apparent that a new code will need to be established. Or, more accurately, an already established code must be adopted by the Westerners.
Poisonwood chronicles the characters’ lives for three decades, and Kingsolver assumes a different female voice in each chapter, which lends the book a sense of thorough totality. Each daughter is allowed her say, and believe me – they all have something quite different to vocalize. Kingsolver is adept at getting into her characters’ heads, and she’s very fair to them – sure, she shows their ugly, but she never forgets to make us sympathetic. Actually, I found the characterization to be the most compelling element of this novel. So goes the cliché, these are very real characters.
This book is an enjoyable read for anyone who wants something digestible yet thought-provoking. It’s a fairly long book, but the writing is not difficult to get through. For me, it was the perfect blend of exciting plot and literary development. Profound symbolism is also employed expertly by the author, which adds another interesting layer to the text. In fact, The Poisonwood Bible was on my sister’s summer reading list, and I can see why. This stuff is pure gold for English teachers. An English major myself, well, I love “this stuff.”
I have added Kingsolver to my “favorite authors” list. When time allows, I’ll be checking out her other books to see if they measure up to Poisonwood.
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July 03, 2010
I have this on my to be read pile. I guess I will have to move it up!
June 24, 2010
Sounds like a very interesting book. I'll have to put it on my to-read list. Thanks so much for the recommendation!
More The Poisonwood Bible reviews
review by . June 23, 2010
I've read all of Barbara Kingsolver's books except her latest one, The Lacuna, and I am so impressed with her writing. She has such a knack for creating such strong female characters, full of quirks but also incredibly human and easy to relate to.      This book really hit me because I saw in it my grandma and her three sisters. Not that they encountered circumstances such as the Price family does in Africa, but the four females of around the same ages …
review by . July 15, 2010
Poisonwood Bible reminded me why I love to read.
I didn’t really know anything about this book before picking it up, but a close friend recommended it so I picked it up before a long trip through the Middle East. Poisonwood Bible was the perfect travel companion.      The book is about a Southern preacher who drags his family to the Congo to ‘save Africa.’ His family soon finds themselves in the Congo without support and while the people decide to start an uprising against the Belgians who have long oppressed …
review by . June 21, 2010
When I first read this book it was an assignment for an English class. At first I was expecting it to be super boring, but was I in for a surprise. You really get hooked to the characters and it is wonderful to see the events that occur from the different points of view.        The books is about a family that moves to Congo, for ministry. As the book goes along, the reader sees the breakdown of the family and the motives of the minster are uncovered.      …
review by . July 06, 2010
The Poisonwood Bible goes down as one of my sentimental favorites. It is a fairly quick read, as you meet the point of view of each character ... a band of sisters dealing with family, love, grief and life in a small African town as they are missionaries. Kinsolver's flow keeps the reader turning pages, wanting to hear what each point of view will say next about given events. And its a great way to learn about life in another country, yet again giving us reason to be grateful in our own lives. …
review by . June 25, 2010
A friend recommended this to me in high school after she had to read it for an advanced class. I read the summary and thought it could be entertaining and could have some good paradoxes but to be honest I thought it would be just an average book for me to kill some time with. Was I wrong! The religious tones are frightening when being cast down on his family by an overbearing father who cares more about his help in a small tribe in the forest in another country completely foreign to their life. …
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
I took this book on a long travel and it was absolutely perfect. It even made me excited for down time so that I could keep reading. I love the different perspectives the book provides as it has five different narrators. A really beautiful story.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
Complex and thought provoking. Not a light read but fascinating look at the legacy of colonialism and missionaries in Africa.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
Pretty good examination of religious conviction, but the last half should have been cut... or at least published separately.
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
Definitely an interesting, well-written book.
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
A very good read! Humorous in spots, made me laugh out loud and at other times touching.
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lizzy ()
Ranked #289
I like beer, the shape of teapots, and kitschy diners. I tend to overuse commas. Piles of books can send my into a frenzy like nothing else.
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Oprah Book Club® Selection, June 2000:As any reader ofThe Mosquito Coastknows, men who drag their families to far-off climes in pursuit of an Idea seldom come to any good, while those familiar withAt Play in the Fields of the LordorKalimantaanunderstand that the minute a missionary sets foot on the fictional stage, all hell is about to break loose. So when Barbara Kingsolver sends missionary Nathan Price along with his wife and four daughters off to Africa inThe Poisonwood Bible, you can be sure that salvation is the one thing they're not likely to find. The year is 1959 and the place is the Belgian Congo. Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. To say that he and his family are woefully unprepared would be an understatement: "We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle," says Leah, one of Nathan's daughters. But of course it isn't long before they discover that the tremendous humidity has rendered the mixes unusable, their clothes are unsuitable, and they've arrived in the middle of political upheaval as the Congolese seek to wrest independence from Belgium. In addition to poisonous snakes, dangerous animals, and the hostility of the villagers to Nathan's fiery take-no-prisoners brand of Christianity, there are also rebels in the jungle and the threat of war in the air. Could things get any worse?

In fact they can and they do. The first ...

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ISBN-10: 0060930535
ISBN-13: 978-0060930530
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Harper Perennial
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Oprahs Book Club 2000-2009


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