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 by Barbara Kingsolver
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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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jeannie marie rudkin

A very favorite book, one that I wished to continue long after reading it.
A very realistic family and all they endured when being sent to a land so utterly different than their home town, so many people that become alive to you through the lovely flowing of the authors writing, she takes you along.
Power Reviewer Kelli Robinson

Southern Gothic Fiction Set in the Congo
This is exactly what I want from an award-winning novel! I was hooked immediately by the author's authentic southern voice and the way she expertly molded and shaped the four Price girls and their mother. The Poisonwood Bible was my kind of Southern Gothic fiction, but instead of being set in the American South, it was set in the Belgian Congo. If you decide to take this journey into Africa, expect Southern Baptist evangelism gone wrong, ignorant racism, the devolution of European colonialism, ex-patriot survival to the extreme, and the unmistakable bonds between siblings. Some readers were turned off by the apparently heavy-handed political tone of the book, but I was intrigued by the history of the Congo and the struggles of its people before and after Belgian occupation (and the impact of all on whites living in the country). There are images from this book that I will likely never lose - like a green mamba snake camouflaged in a tree and the distinctive light blue color of the inside of its mouth.
BHLee

Eyes Wide Open
An excellent study of the power of Faith, blind or otherwise. I'm a Christian but I am not in any way offended by Kingsolver's portrayal of the Prices. In fact, the family's journey in the story made me more reflective and appreciative of the need to understand the true meaning of life's destiny. I will definitely be looking out for other titles written by this writer, whose style is at once vivid and intimate.
Power Reviewer Elizabeth

Haunting and a page turner
"Beto nki tutasala? What are we doing?" quote from Page 523......and...I asked myself that question throughout the book as the Price Family continued with their missionary work and all the hardships and heartache the family endured.

The Price Family...Father Nathan, Mother Orleanna, and their four daughters pack for their mission in the Congo trying to figure out what they should take...not knowing that most of the things they take will be useless and not knowing what is in store for them in terms of day-to-day living. While they are there, the country fights for its independence from Belgium.

I enjoyed the Price family...all except the father...the daughters made some life decisions that definitely had their father's influence.

The book is superbly written......you won't want to put it down. You also learn that your childhood and what you learn does follow you throughout your entire life, influences your decisions about career and spouse, and that you are like your parents no matter how much may not want to admit it.

A definite must read...it will haunt you long after you have completed the last page.
Sarah

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.
kjt

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

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

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.

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