The Poisonwood Bible The Poisonwood Bible discussion


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Who was your favorite character?

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message 1: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia R Mine was Adah.


Jacob I liked Adah too, to me she seemed like the only character who actually had any sense about what was going on around her.


Elyse  Walters OMG...maybe I should read this book again. It was gut-aching-AMAZING!!! (but since I read it so long ago I forget the 'names' of daughters) --
Was Adah one of the daughters? or wife? (I forget). I'll enjoy reading your thread....(as a catch up).

I loved the 'way' the book was written. (it felt so real)


Dana Faletti Adah


Richard to be honest the one narrative i really wanted was the father, i found the others quite blandly interchangeable


Elyse  Walters Interesting comment about the father! Its true, we never really did hear the inside thinking from 'his' head --
What 'drove' drove him to extreme obsessive-abusive behaviors?


message 7: by Amy (new)

Amy Adah.. and their mother, too


Rachel Kravitz Adah


message 9: by Mia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mia R Elyse wrote: "OMG...maybe I should read this book again. It was gut-aching-AMAZING!!! (but since I read it so long ago I forget the 'names' of daughters) --
Was Adah one of the daughters? or wife? (I forget)..."

Adah was one of the twin daughters. She was the one born with slight brain damage.


Elyse  Walters OK, Thank you **Mia**!!! (sweet of you to take your time to answer my question).
I remember feeling sorry for 'Adah'....
but then...
it didn't take long to feel painfully sorry (as in crying) for all the woman in the book.

I'd like to hear Sandyguy talk more about his thoughts about the father.
He was so over-the top CRAZY at one point --it was almost hard to believe anyone could be like that to their wife and daughters. ---
but its true ---he was a very interesting character!


Richard i read the book on a book club thing and it really wasn't my cup of tea. The dad seemed too constructed to me, almost like a template character of Obsessed and Dangerous Male. He felt very much a re-hash of Harrison Fords character in film The Mosquito Coast.

Everyone in the book seemed to get their say in the book except the dad which by the end was annoying me - actually the whole book annoyed me - and I wanted just a few pages from the dad's viewpoint even if it was an insane stream of consciosness view point as he lay dying. It was one of the few books I have read that felt too feminine to me.


message 12: by April (new) - rated it 1 star

April Phillips Sandyguy has a good point here.

Don't get me wrong, I see the point of telling the story from the point of view of the women in the family, but I feel like Kingsolver's deliberate exclusion of Nathan-chapters made Nathan out to be a 2D, fairytale villain ala Gaston. All of the other characters developed so gracefully, I was disappointed to see Nathan's character get no expansion or progress of any kind.

Also: Ruth May was my favorite character.


Rebecca I agree with James about Nathan. I don't feel we learned THAT much more about any character from their own monologue, but from what their sisters/mother/daughters had to say about them.

For example, we heard from Rachel (the oldest) and my feelings toward her were no different than if I had learned about her from only Adah, Leah, Ruth May, and Orleanna.

And April, Ruth May was by FAR my favorite as well! I was emotionally rocked after the snake scene. For me, that was the part where the okapi scene came full circle and I started to see Orleanna as a person.


Elyse  Walters Pause: I'm sorry ---but I can't help but laugh at the visual of Harrison Ford in "The Mosquito Coast"....(hey, I liked that movie)...
lol
'Sandyguy'(boy)...lol, is messing with my brain...
He say..."it was one of the few books I have read that felt too feminine for me".

I can respect what 'Sandy' says ---but I am surprise he picks 'this' book out as 'few' when it comes to feminine.

I think I'm sensitive to this subject --because it seems to me most books I find dealing with complex 'relationships' tend to have a female slant.

A book I really enjoyed (for many reasons) --with an excellent 'male' complex straight-friendship was a booked called "The Tennis Partner" by Abraham Verghese.

I also loved "The Wonder Boys" -- and the new book called "& Sons" by David Gilbert. --

'Rebecca': Yikes --yep --that snake scene almost gave me nightmares!

As for the Father in the book (Reverend) ---I thought he was just mentally very sick. (which is maybe why I didn't think we would hear anything more from him)


Elyse  Walters I have a question for you wonderful people? (I'm just an old fart --and even a late bloomer when it comes to reading).
I read "The PoisonWood Bible" awhile ago (so its not fresh as if I had just read it) --but I 'still' remember strong feelings from that book (I was still new in my deep passion of-'must read & read and read')... like Forrest Gump who could not stop running) --
but what was 'new' for me at the time (and I liked it) was the writing. I felt it worked. (each character having a chapter to express their experience).

I have 'not' seen that style work well in other books --(unless its a collection of short stories) --

Did you guys like it?
Maybe you each are more talented readers than I? Know more about writing?
But I had my first fantasy thoughts (about my family writing a book together of that style) --- as we have a story we could tell --my husband and two adult daughters (from years ago) --
but I write like 'S#&T' ... I know it....lol --so let go of that fantasy. (I'm happy to enjoy reading ---I gave up on my little writing flashing fantasy)...

but did others like the writing style of PoisonWood Bible? (I don't think it works often --but did in 'this' book)


message 16: by Elyse (last edited Sep 02, 2013 11:34AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elyse  Walters I knew it......
*James* is a REAL reader....lol

so??? which book do you recommend I read? My (old fart), retired Professor-friends whom I've recently become friends with in the last year ---know I'm the 'new' reader...
They read almost NOTHING (today)....as they are too busy have FUN....(travel, beaches, really 'living' life...
I am reading -and reading and reading....(love to stay home: DONE with travel) --but they tell me ---I'm NOT reading "THE GREAT BOOKS"...
and I say...
"OK, maybe??? that is so......but don't kill my love of reading...as I DO love it now....(hated it as a kid)...
so WHICH-classic book might I lOVE???

Thanks, (just an old handicap fruitcake) lol


Elyse  Walters I read "To Kill A Mockingbird about 6 times ---I LOVED THAT book!!!!!
THAT YOU Michelle.

I did read "How Reading Changed My Life". I still own that little book. ....
Reading changed MY life too, Michelle. (thank you sooooo much for letting me be honest abut being such a late reader).
I first enjoyed reading 'with' my kids --(all the kids books --then teen books). One of my daughters was a book-worm --(a great writer also: even today).

She and I would read hours together --(The Secret Garden, Of Mice and Men -- Alice & Wonderland --(dozen of times) --etc. etc.

but it was only AFTER she left for college (at age 17) --and has never returned home --
and after my mother died several years later --
that something REALLY changed for me --
A light went off when I read the book "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Wall (while sitting under a tree one day --an COULD NOT stop reading)...
After that book --
I kept reading -
and reading -and reading --

LATER I joined a book club --
Then learned about this site --
Something 'different' changed in my life once I developed my own authentic passion for reading.

I read for me! NOT to prove anything to anyone! I'm clear of holes in my education --etc. ---but fear does not stop me from reading anymore..
Its the greatest gift in the world!


message 18: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam I read this book several years ago. I started the book not liking the writing style and put it down for a year or so. When I went back and read a little bit further into the book, I kinda liked it. Except every time I was really enjoying someone's point of view... it changed to another's, but in this book I think it worked.


Elyse  Walters Hi Pam! :) so I am not the only one who read this book several years ago! love hearing people share about this book for some reason --(no matter what they have to say)


Debra Eldest daughter and then Adah my favorite characters.
I found it laborous for the difficulties faced by the the protagonists, the blindness of a man driven mad by grandiose aspirations, yet not unlike so many households of that era. DID appreciate the skill with which the author dove headlong into each character, personalities and depth so rarely experienced in contemporary writing


Melissa I just was not crazy about this one. The characters did not engage me much.


Ellen Elyse wrote: "I read "To Kill A Mockingbird about 6 times ---I LOVED THAT book!!!!!
THAT YOU Michelle.

I did read "How Reading Changed My Life". I still own that little book. ....
Reading changed MY life to..."


Elyse wrote: "I knew it......
*James* is a REAL reader....lol

so??? which book do you recommend I read? My (old fart), retired Professor-friends whom I've recently become friends with in the last year ---know..."


The Poisonwood Bible was that "reader changing" book for me. I must have read this book at least 10 years ago or more and I still consider it one of my favourite books, and author, for that matter. It was THE book that made me realize that, up until that point, I had been reading absolute garbage. One part that stands out for me, I can't remember the context now, but something about when you choose something democratically, what about the, theoretically, 51% who didn't want whatever was voted on. I often think about that remark in our democratic society. (and no, I don't have a better suggestion as apparently consensus takes WAY too long!)
As to the question about my favourite character? Leah, if she's the one that stayed in the Congo.


Linda I agree with James about the Father. He was totally out there without saying anything!!


Gaurav Kumar Adah :-D


Jason Lilly Adah, probably, but once I met Brother Fowles I wanted him to stick around. I also really like Anatole.


Jason Lilly Multiple narrators aren't common, ..."

This book actually reminded me of As I Lay Dying.


Melissa Anatole was my favorite


Valorie The youngest was the most fun to listen to. Adah was amazing just because she was but the other twin was most like myself so I liked her of course. Rachel I liked because she kept the whole thing in perspective and reminded me that they were "modern" people thrown into a "primitive" world. I liked the next door neighbor with no legs. She was awesome!


Tristan My favorite character was absolutely Adah. Ruth May is fun, Leah is at some times infuriating, at other times wonderful, and Rachel sucks. I also love Orleanna, wracked by her guilt and pain, she is fascinating. But Adah! Who couldn't love a character with that tilted, poetic view of life, a character whose first words are "Sunrise, tantalize". She is amazing.


Barbara This is one of my all time favorite books. I ran around like my tush was on fire telling everybody to read this book! I loved the way it was written and I loved all the characters but if I was forced to pick just one it would be Adah. I read this book many years ago and this discussion has put me in the mood to read it again and luckily I know just where to find it!!!


Kelly Martin There are many topic lines going on. The first book that really go me I to reading was a book called James and McArthur. It was about two talking cats and at 12 years old; I loved it.
As to the PoisonWood Bible. I read this quite a while ago for my book club. It was on my reading list anyways and I already gad it at home. The girls I the book were all interesting and loving people, but the father made the interesting. he is the foil that everyone else is judged by and against. A read good read!


Ezequiel Carballo All of them were amazing, but Adah, the best!


Tristan Julia wrote: "The person who said that Rachel "sucks" is, in my opinion, out of line. What I mean is this: if you don't like Rachel, that is okay, of course; if you don't like her character, that's okay....but i..."

I don't usually engage in personal critiques, but you appear to have misread my meaning in my analysis of Rachel. Rachel is, of course, well-drawn and fascinating, but she is, without question, the least "good" of the characters. It was not a comment on her ability or the skill with which she was written, but rather on her morality. You cannot claim that she is a "good person" given what she does to do "the best she could with what she had." She practically embodies imperialism at the end of the novel. Her horribleness is part of her appeal.
Also, if you are going to attack me for not couching my opinions in language that you believe sufficiently indicates that they are opinions, please do so with all of my opinions. By not doing so, it deprives your argument of some of its weight.


Atlasgo I read this book many years ago. It seems I remember the father going up into a tower and that tower coming down. That is where I had the most visceral reaction. That is the image I have every time I think of the book. I also remember thinking the fulcrum that everything turned on was now over. Like everyone being adrift after that.
It is off the subject but I also wonder how it is that Kingsolver wrote such a great book but her other books were not so good. I could not get into anything else she wrote. It is like someone else wrote The Poisonwood Bible.


Lady Willpower "But I also think Rachel is my favourite, too. She is really under appreciated. Is she spoiled? Probably. Is she super-smart? No, I guess not. Is she self-obsessed? Well, yes, I guess, but have you ever met a teenage girl that wasn't? :-) I think she is VERY under-rated. What she says about certain things is actually smart, if you read closely. And she's sort of more real, to me, in a way, then the other saintly characters...."

Rachel was always my favorite, too, for the same reasons. To me, she reacted the way a typical American teenager probably would in their situation. I also liked her malapropisms; they were welcome comic relief, and set her up as a foil to more serious characters, like the twins.


Devyn Duffy I liked all of the characters as characters, and unlike some above commenters, I'm glad that Nathan Price didn't get his own narration, because it made him more compelling as a character. I liked having that sense of distance from him.

At first I sympathized with Leah the most, with how much she wanted to find what was right, and how clear it was that she was looking in the wrong place. Later, some time after the ants, my sympathies moved over to Adah. I didn't like at first how hard Adah was trying to be clever, but at some point she dropped that and started speaking more directly to us, while still maintaining her intelligence.

And I forgive Rachel for all of her excesses: not only is she an entertaining character, but when you realize that her parents essentially prostituted her to Axelroot when she was seventeen, I'm impressed with how well she was able to preserve her sanity.


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