Nina Levine's Reviews > The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
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's review
Aug 30, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: coming-of-age, character-study
Read 2 times. Last read March 25, 2011.

I enjoyed this story more the second time around though it was a good read the first time, too. Told through 4 voices, this is the tale of a family, mother and her four daughters, each a unique individual so that together they convey a picture of the places, events and people in their world that is multi-faceted. I think it takes a certain maturity on the part of the reader to really appreciate this format as I find that middle school kids often find it confusing to piece together the timeline and the merge the stories into a cohesive whole. That said as a reader, this approach lets me arrive at a truth that hearing/reading/viewing a story from a single perspective cannot permit.

The tale of what occurred in Africa makes me shiver with anger and frustration as I listen to the news each day. How do we trust our government's motives? I listened to the President speak last night and my ears caught at his use of references to America's interests and values. Which ones?... I wanted to ask. Are they my values? Is it about oil? Is it about a dictator in office in that country who lets the Western nations deplete the natural resources of that country and oppress the people? Poisonwood Bible explores these questions and asks uncomfortable questions of us as readers. Each of the women leaves the small African village behind -- geographically, but not psychologically. Each is affected differently, the experience taking its toll, inspiring, and becoming part of the fabric of their lives in countless ways.

The reader who persists through the lengthy bulk of the book is rewarded... at least the second time around.

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