Karo's Reviews > The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
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Feb 09, 12

Read in March, 2001

The Poisonwood Bible was my first foray into the world of Barbara Kingsolver. I bought the book many moons ago, long before Oprah graced it with her ubiquitous sticker, and I started it twice without getting further than the first few chapters. I've talked to other readers since then, and the general consensus seems to be that the novel is indeed hard to begin. I did read it in its entirety on my third try, and am glad that I did. The story of the 4 daughters and mother who had Africa forced upon them by a missionary zealot father was a very interesting read, and I learned quite a bit about the political history of the Congo. The book is long, however, and the characters quite complex. It's definitely one that you'll keep turning over in your mind after completing it. The novel is written in chapters that are narrated by the five females in the family, and each of them has a very distinct voice, a tribute to Kingsolver's writing abilities. On the down note, I and many others in a book discussion I attended seemed to find Kingsolver a bit preachy in the later half of the book. The first half is definitely the highlight, when the girls are young and they live in the tiny village where their father, severely damaged by WWII, attempts to convert the inhabitants into Southern Baptists. Overall, the book is somewhat of a challenge to read, but rewarding. A recommendation, especially if you have someone to discuss it with after you've finished.
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