Reader reviews and comments on The Poisonwood Bible, plus links to write your own review.

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The Poisonwood Bible

by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible
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  • First Published:
    Oct 1998, 543 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 1999, 560 pages

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There are currently 131 reader reviews for The Poisonwood Bible
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Sarah (04/03/08)

Book of Burdens
Kingsolver's ability to convey the guilt of foreign powers over the oppression of the Congo and its inhabitants is one of flair and a real depth of understanding as yet unachieved by many authors previous attempts. The use of Orleanna's passages evoke this sense of guilt at the beginning of each book, standing as a constant reminder to the reader of the burden of guilt she and we as readers must bear.

Kingsolver's use of narrative perspective through the four Price women and her refusal to give Nathan a voice makes the sense of breaking free from oppression even more poignant Not only does The Poisonwood Bible portray the Congolese's plight for independence, it also conveys Orelanna and her children's escape from Nathan's grasp and the oppression of a man whose belief in himself as the "bringer of light" is overwhelming.

Kingsolver's grasp of language and her ability to create images such as the jungle that 'eat's itself' conjures up the idea of regeneration that is ever prominent in her depiction of the Congo, greatly contrasting her open criticism of western intervention which is filled with portrayals of corruption and destruction.

This family saga with a much deeper message than simply the plight of a western family in the Congo, creates a novel worth of recognition and despite losing some poignancy towards the end, Kingsolver recaptures her message in her final emotive paragraph.
Cassandra (01/28/08)

Cry Me a River-Build Me a Bridge
Though Kingsolver's style of writing is on its own intriguing this book just. . . didn't do it for me. It had a large number of important points and showed many different sides of the same issue through all the different points of view but it simply could not keep my interest. There were so many unnecessary things added into the plot that sometimes I skipped whole pages just to move on to something that was worthwhile. Not to mention that the characters themselves annoyed me to no end. All they did was piss and moan. They are so self-centered it was hard for me to feel any sort of connection to them. There were some moving moments but in the long run this novel should have ended up being half the length it turned out to be. It just kept dragging on and on. I definitely would not recommend this one for pleasure reading.
michaela (07/12/07)

kingsolvers, the poisonwood bible
I have just finished this book and although I went on holiday for a week in between reading, I managed to get into it again. I think Kingsolver has written the book excellently and I picked out many symbols and underlying messages throughout. I was touched by many of the characters in the book and felt unhappy by the unraveling of the Price family because of the poverty seen in the book I have now been forced to think about less fortunate countries than our own and am truly thankful to Kingsolver for her ambitious novel.
kjt (02/06/07)

The Poisonwood Bible
I just finished reading this book, and am going to read it again. I've read all 119 reviews before me, and immensely enjoyed them. I learned a lot by reading the reviews - I think this book is enlightening, and offers so many reasons we humans need to do some self evaluating. I'm a Christian, and this book did not offend me. I don't think this book should be read by immature persons, be it academic, or by age. I intend to read more by this author.
Lauren (04/13/06)

The Poisonwood Bible: A Modern Classic
I thought this book was exellent, Kingsolver does a great job depicting the political situation of the Congo throughout the end of the 20th century by personalizing it with characters that any reader can relate to. Although she depicts the ignorance of western cultures, I feel she does it in a way that educates instead of outright offends her readers, making us all question what role we, as Americans, have in this cultural arrogance. For people who enjoyed this book, I encourage you to read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. This book is more dificult to understand than Kingsolver's, but the parallels between the two novels are very interesting, especially being written over a century apart.
Elaine (02/16/06)

Thoughtful
I read this book a few years ago, but was reminded of it when my own daughter was talking to me about her in-laws missionary experiences. I suggested she read the book for some insight on missionary zeal. I like Kingsolver's books and this one was true to form. I find it interesting to read reviews and see how vehemently people respond with Christianity vs Anti-Christianity bias. I don't personally find it anti-Christian. I did find it anti-ignorant, which is an ongoing trait in Kingsolver's novels.
ashley (10/02/05)

Great book!
You can learn a lot from this book if you read it thoroughly. By analyzing it, i saw this book in more ways than one. I suggest that if you take the time to read it and analyze it, it will be one great book you enjoyed reading. And it's a part of oprah's book club!
KokoroRyu (09/14/05)

The PosoinWood Bible worth the Detour.
I took it off the shelves, and discouragingly eyed the thickness of the volume. But when I started reading it, I couldn't quite put it down. Albeit a slow and confusing beginning, it incites you to read more, and it manages to hold your interest throughout the whole story.

I picked up many symbols and many foreshadowings of things to come, and I found that the different point of views were excellently written, in a way that made you think about whose point of view you were reading. But I found, however, as much as the female characters were full of life and complex and interesting, the men were like cartoons, very stereotypical and sometimes just ridiculously so. But I loved it overall.

I recommend it very much to anyone who enjoys a good book.
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