Mimi's Reviews > The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
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Jan 11, 08

bookshelves: cried-my-eyes-out
Recommended for: Ashley
Read in December, 2007

My official review "Tata Jesus is Bängala":

I finished the last 300 pages in 2 days (which is very fast for me - English books). I felt every emotion under the sky with this book. I hated Nathan Price, I hated injustice, I hated my uselessness, I hated the fact that there are no good prospects for Africa in the future. As a Geographic major I strongly believe that the closer you are to the Equator, the longer it will remain a 3rd world country. Of course the country itself is full of resources (in non-foods) that could make them rich, but nothing can feed the overpopulated cities. Politics obstruct any way of turning diamonds into food. Anyway,
I loved the fact the author talked so much about how they processed their lives and experiences in the Congo. To some degree that's how I am. I grew up poor and desolate and now live in this insane country where everything is available. I feel restless and unsettles at times. Like Orleanna who can't wear shoes in Atlanta because she needs to feel dirt between her feet I prefer to walk to church (with stroller and kids) in Minus degree weather because that's my connection to my family and culture in Germany. Nobody gets it when we arrive at church with red noses, fully aware that we have a functional car.
I love and miss Ruth May. I cried a lot about dead animal. I laughed at her timely wittiness in describing the culture clashes.

I learned one important point about African culture. The author lingered on the fact that Africans (especially villagers) can't grasp the fact of a family owning or keeping more than they need or consume at any point. When a fisherman caught a full net he immediately shares with his village. People don't ask for fish or thank for the fish. They just take. Because that's how it is. When the Prices arrived there with storage the kids came to beg at their door. Not because they were greedy or rude but that's how the village functions.

We have many African immigrants in our ward and neighborhood (sometimes I am the only white person in a store on any given day). For example when the Relief Society announces a committee meeting "With refreshments" some African women just show up. They go straight to the refreshment table (in the middle of the meeting, untouched foods and all) eat, and then go home. None has a calling but hears the call to eat the offered food. There is an abundance and they have no money for food. It's all logical to them to eat when it's available if they were invited or not. There are also many problems with African can't getting off welfare. Honorable families don't understand the reason not to take when it's for everyone to take and use. There is no thinking about the future, just filling the belly now.

One of our Book Club books this year is "A Framework for Understanding Poverty" by Ruby K Payne to help us interact better.

I loved it. It was a good book. A few flaws but easily forgivable for the beautiful philosophical writing. It was the best epic I read so far.
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Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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Jinny It's amazing how the expected sharing of resources is so much like welfare and the law of consecration mixed up so it's hard to tell the difference. There was so much of beauty and sadness in this book.


Gwen Haaland Mimi,
Glad to see that you appreciated this masterpiece as much as I did!


Gwen (I am a different Gwen) Mimi, I loved your perspective of the parallels between the views of abundance in Africa and those of our (unfortunately condemned by many) welfare and community giving. I missed that from the book (also 5-stars in my opinion) and would never have thought of it till I read your review. I now have a little more comeback when debating my less social-minded coworkers. Thank you.


Spacious Critter Thank you for your completely real, "touching the ground" perspective. Your comment came as a great salve after reading so many whiny snivelings written by people who apparently completely don't get what our world is really like - that most people who share our planet are hungry and too many "better off" people want to assert their agendas over over others, meanwhile fattening their pockets with the resources they steal and labour they exploit.
I absolutely loved "The Poisonwood Bible", it changed my life. Glad you found it meaningful, too.


Anna Coleman Thank you for this review! I'm doing an essay on how The Poisonwood Bible asks readers to challenge the constructs around their lives. Would you agree?


GeckoEcho Sigh.


Tabitha Marie great review! thank you for your great insight.


message 8: by Meh (new) - rated it 4 stars

Meh I also enjoyed the unique views of African life emphasized in this novel. It created a nice contrast between the Price family and the world they were introduced to.


Julie Shipley I'm rarely moved to comment on a review, but I would remiss if I did not.

What a beautifully written review! I have only lived in the insanity of this country, though I've had the fortune to travel abroad. To Southern Ireland with its lush landscapes and turbulent winds (never again have mistaken a breezy afternoon as blustery...tornados notwithstanding as those are as terrible as they are devastating), to Northern Ireland with its steel-covered windows and walled sections, to Provence, Tuscany, the Cote de Azure, plus a dozen or so European metropolis. To Central America and Canada. And finally to Dubai. I have found so many instances of intolerance and prejudice in every country, sometimes at the hand of us (the foreigners, the travelers, the pilgrims) and sometimes the at the hand of the natives. There seemed to be a common thread, and I think that's what you have presented so eloquently. Thank you


Elizabeth Beck this is such a beautiful review!


Udeni Leanage I love this review, I completely agree with you


Rebecca Are you in the Philadelphia ward? We were there for a while. Amazing community.


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