Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Genre: historical fiction, Africa, Congo
FTC Disclosure: bought from local second-hand store
Published: 1998
Pages: 543
Content: PG-13 for violence and adult themes

One Line Review: Makes you wish you could really find a way to save the world from us, people.

Kingsolver really knows her stuff. She has written a beautiful and moving story that intertwines the lives of an American family in the heart of the Congo during their fight for independence from Belgium. Little did they know that they're father/husband would literally go insane and they would be left to fend for themselves in a harsh world.

Kingsolver tells the story from the perspective of the four daughters, mainly, and a three or four chapters from the mother's perspective. She gives a very distinct voice for all of the women and it's amazing to read how she does it.

It was also a really hard book to get through because there is so much tragedy told so beautifully. This was another eye-opener for me. One doesn't hear a whole lot about all the 'pies' the United States and other European countries get their big fingers into. Why in the world does the U.S. feel like they have to plan uprising coups when it comes to other countries. Let's keep those fingers out and really let people experience democracy instead of trying to keep 'our' interests in line instead. It's really sickening. And I'm sure it continues on to this day like we're the king of the world and must make sure everyone else keeps to their station so we can keep our high one. Grrr. It just gets me so mad. That's why I loved this book. It tells the truth but in a way all can understand if they really try to.

Quotes: "I could never work out whether we were to view religion as a life-insurance policy or a life sentence. I can understand a wrathful God who'd just as soon dangle us all from a hook. And I can understand a tender, unprejudiced Jesus. But I could never quite feature the two of them living under the same house."

"I've heard foreign visitors complain that the Congolese are greedy, naive, and inefficient. They have no idea. The Congolese are skilled at survival and perceptive beyond belief, or else dead at an early age. Those are the choices."

"The United States has now become the husband of Zaire's economy, and not a very nice one. Exploitive and condescending, in the name of steering her clear of the moral decline inevitable to her nature."

"Poor Africa. No other continent has endured such an unspeakably bizarre combination of foreign theivery and foreign goodwill."

Rating: 5/5


  1. One of these days I need to read this! I've only read one Kingsolver but really enjoyed it.

  2. This is one of my all-time faves. It really gets you thinking about why some people insist others need saving without having asked for help.

  3. Great review! It's been awhile since I've read this book, but I think about it often. It was a fantastic book. I need to read it again one of these days . . . perhaps a future book club pick?

  4. I absolutely loved the first half of this book. So beautiful and haunting. The second half dragged more and lost some of that beauty but it was definitely an eye opener!

  5. Great review and I like your new layout. Sounds like a really good book that makes you think. A tragedy told beautifully, got to read it someday.

  6. This is one of my favorite books. I read after living in Africa, and it just holds a special place in my heart. Great reviw!

  7. This book just had so many great gems. It really made me think.

  8. I am intrigued. This sounds like a book worth reading.

  9. I'm glad you like this! It is on my slow-growing 100 Best Books list.


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