Jason's Reviews > The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
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's review
Dec 17, 12

bookshelves: read-2010
Read in August, 2010

This is a book about people and their follies. A baptist preacher leads his family into the Congo right before it is turned over to the people and things go very, very wrong. Told from the point of view from the four daughters, with each section beginning with an introduction from the mother, it begins as a description of things and events and ends up, at the end, being a book about how and what we believe and the consequences of our beliefs and actions.

Kingsolver is a very talented writer who moves into each character in a particularly insightful way, making them feel alive and easy to comprehend. While at times she tries too many cute tricks of language that grow tiresome or ring false, her prose is also richly woven and captivating to read.

What strikes me most, however, is the dawning of comprehension that each of the girls and the mother exhibit. They go so many different ways and find their own loves and hatreds and goals and desires that to look at them, as they are in the end, would make you wonder how they got that way. This novel helps us to understand how a family could grow so very far apart and so very different from how they began. In that, we understand how not only people become how they are, in a way, but how countries and communities become how they are, how the actions of small things gather together and multiply and how so much matters--even the person reading a newspaper of events must form an opinion that can shape public policy. It goes from being a novel about some girls taking a trip into the jungle and becomes about how we manage the difference of faith and religion and nationality and bias and international policy; how we respect the traditions of others without condoning awful practices and how what is good intentioned is not always right and about how we must listen and work together for something better.

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Ebookwormy excellent review.

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