Book Review: The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

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 thoughts on “Book Review: The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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.

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