She-Who-Reads's Reviews > The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
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Jul 22, 07

bookshelves: politics, literary, africa, thought-provoking, multiple-pov, worth-rereading, gender, race
Read in July, 2007

I loved this novel. It was beautifully told, with some gorgeous language and amazingly distinct voices. I loved the structure of it, the way it was broken into books like a bible, the way each chapter was from a different character's point of view. And the first few books were utterly engrossing. While I was reading about the Price family's journey into Africa and the time they spent on their mission, I could not put the book down; it was that good.

I do think that it went on too long, though. The last book or so is about the Price girls' lives after that experience, what happened to them, and so on. It was just unnecessary, and dragged a bit. It also got a bit didactic and preachy -- I felt almost like I was reading a history book in some places: Africa, and Why the USA Should Leave It Alone. Those same points were made much more powerfully and subtly in the first half of the book, I think.

But that flaw doesn't detract from the overall power and beauty of this novel. There is a great deal of complexity in these pages -- it's about all kinds of things, from spirituality, multiculturalism, religion, the way religion gets all tied up in cultural imperialism, race, gender, poverty, the politics and history of the Congo, self-identity, and more -- but it's all wrapped up in an engaging story and vividly-drawn characters. I highly recommend it!
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