Jennifer's Reviews > The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
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Apr 14, 2012

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Read in April, 2012

** spoiler alert ** The first 430 or so pages of this book were magnificent. Each character owns her distinct voice, and the author's descriptions of life in Congo make it come alive. The last 125 pages are another story. Suddenly, the narrative jumps ahead years at a time and the author becomes preachy and repetitive. To me, there are two ways the book could have ended and maintained its magnificence: 1) The story could have ended when the female characters choose to leave Africa after Ruth May's death. 2) Orleanna could have relayed to the reader what happens to all of the characters after they leave the Congo. This would have made more narratological sense, since Orleanna talks to us from the future throughout the entire novel, unlike her daughters.

A final thought: I hated the adult version of Rachel. I find it completely unbelievable that someone who has lived in a village in the Congo for 15 months could remain so utterly unmoved by the suffering of others. I agree that Rachel would have never *chosen* to live in that situation, and I didn't want her to do a 180, but I expected her to develop some sort of human compassion after her experiences as a missionary. Instead, she never develops beyond the self-absorved teen she is early in the story.
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