Book Review: The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

1 Jul

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

I really liked this book. There have been so many reviews and there are heaps of plot summaries available online if you’re interested so I won’t go into the story here. What I loved the most was the way the five voices of the story spoke so distinctly in their own voice. The story was narrated by the wife and four daughters of a Southern Baptist missionary in the Congo. Each one’s voice was perfectly captured and in that way I felt like I could really get to know each character. And I LOVED Adah’s voice and brilliant way with words and language. Very clever word smithery right there. So many palindromes that made me smile.

The story itself? It kept me reading although was not gripping. I liked that it covered a piece of history that I’m interested in but knew little about and I liked that it showed it from a couple of points of view (i.e.Rachel vs Leah), although clearly favoured one. It made me want to go away and find out a little more about the Congo.

I loved the descriptions of Africa, and I loved the African characters, especially Anatole.

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17 Responses to “Book Review: The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver”

  1. Sherry July 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    Thanks for contributing to the Saturday Review.

    I read this novel a couple of years ago: http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=1873
    I thought it was quite intriguing and some of the characters have stuck with me since then.

  2. embejo July 3, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

    Hi Sherry,
    Thanks for stopping by, and sharing your review. Yes, these characters will stick with me too.

  3. Melody July 3, 2010 at 6:06 pm #

    Hi! Stopping by via the Saturday Review. I liked the Poisonwood Bible too. What you said about the story being interesting (but not gripping) and pleasantly historical is how I felt about as well.

    • embejo July 3, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

      Hi Melody, Thanks for your comment. I read your review of The Lacuna. I haven’t read that yet.

      • Melody July 4, 2010 at 10:20 am #

        whoops. I left out the title of the book. (duh). Sorry!

  4. Dorothy July 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

    Thank you for your reply :) Everything will be alright.

    Something tells me I will return here more often. Have a good weekend Erin.

    • embejo July 3, 2010 at 11:06 pm #

      Hi again Dorothy. You’re welcome. Hope you have a good weekend too.

  5. Krakovianka July 4, 2010 at 1:59 am #

    I read this a couple of years ago, and what impressed me, and has remained with me is the way that the Congo itself is one of the characters of the story–it’s always presented as if it were a living thing, rather than a place.

    • embejo July 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with you.

  6. Sarah at SmallWorld July 4, 2010 at 2:53 am #

    Definitely one of my favorite Kingsolver books!

    • embejo July 6, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

      It’s the only one I’ve read so far. Better late than never though.

  7. Broot July 5, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    I remember reading that one. I don’t remember being all that impressed with it. But I can be hard to please. I’ve been meandering about from SITS. When I arrived here, the first thing I saw was your beautiful pohutukawa tree. Figured you must be in NZ, like me! ;) Checked out your Chicken Pox post – I hear ya. We did that just a few weeks ago.

    • embejo July 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

      Eeeeek! Another NZ’er! I had a quick browse of your blog. I’m like you.. I’m Australian born so I can relate to your post about that. I’ll come visit you again soon. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Jen @ The Short Years July 15, 2010 at 9:11 am #

    I read this years ago and loved this. Now I want to read it again. Have you read Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”? It’s an account of her family’s attempt to live only off what they can grow themselves or buy locally. It’s well-written, plus it makes me want to start making my own cheese and canning all my own produce.

    • embejo July 16, 2010 at 8:08 pm #

      No, this is the only Kingsolver I’ve read so far. It sounds interesting….I go through phases of wanting everything home made….it usually doesn’t last.

  9. Sandra July 25, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    I recently read The Lacuna when it won this year’s Orange Prize, and I enjoyed it very much. It was my first Kingsolver book. I have a copy of The Poisonwood Bible on my shelves so it’s time I dug it out too. Glad you liked this story, thanks for reviewing it. I’ve added you to my Google reader.

    • embejo July 27, 2010 at 12:55 am #

      Thanks Sandra. Sent you some link love today.

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