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The Poisonwood Bible
The Poisonwood Bible
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
In 1959, Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist, takes his four young daughters, his wife, and his mission to the Belgian Congo -- a place, he is sure, where he can save needy souls. But the seeds they plant bloom in tragic ways within this complex culture. Set against one of the most dramatic political events of the twentieth century -- th...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780060512828
ISBN-10: 0060512822
Publication Date: 2/1/2003
Pages: 672
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 430 ratings
Publisher: HarperTorch
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
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reviewed The Poisonwood Bible on
Helpful Score: 11
Primo selection for long plane flights; Kingsolver gets off to a slow start; you have to get into it about 50 pages, and then you are hooked. Each character seems normal and eventually is revealed for the bizarre creature he or she actually is. Gradually sensing and "watching" this family crack up in the middle of Africa is hilarious and deep.The character of Nathan is rich--he just can't "get" why the indigenous people do NOT want, or need his religion. Once he realizes this truth, his mind slowly sizzles to a snap , and his family merrily rolls along.
reviewed The Poisonwood Bible on
Helpful Score: 8
This is my all time favorite book. I've read it twice and it enjoyed it both times. The characters are well developed and I loved the way she wrote in five separate voices. This is one of the few books that sparked a long and involved discussion in my book club and though some liked it and others didn't, everyone was moved by it.
reviewed The Poisonwood Bible on + 18 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
I found this book enjoyable, if not extraordinary. The story of an eccentric Southern minister out to save souls by dragging his wife and daughters to the Congo in the turbulent 1960's.

The multiple perspectives created a complex web of truths that could not have been discerned if the author had chosen to tell the story from one character. While that was a definite positive, I did find some of the character's perspectives to be tiring and struggled to get through their chapters. The political overtones balanced well with the colorful personal struggles of each of the daughters. Overall it was a very good book, but I had to make myself get through the last quarter or so. It would have benefited from being about 100 pages shorter.
reviewed The Poisonwood Bible on
Helpful Score: 8
This is without a doubt one of the best fictional works I've read in some time. It is done from a unique and multiple narrative perspective. I grabs your heart from the first few chapters till the very last, will hold your attention and thoughts for quite some time.
reviewed The Poisonwood Bible on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
A book written from 5 points of view? musing on word families in african languages? evaluating ancient cultural customs from a 1960's southern baptist perspective? telling the history of an African (euro-african?) nation from the inside out?
Fantastic!! This book has well-conceived characters with unique differences that anyone with a sibling will appreciate, and its setting in Zaire in the 1960's walks you through the tumultuous events that shaped Africa into what it is today. Read this book if you loved the movie "Blood Diamond." My favorite quote: "No other continent has endured such an unspeakably bizarre combination of foreign thievery and foreign goodwill."(pg 528)
A perfect read if you enjoy an intense, thought-provoking book.
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reviewed The Poisonwood Bible on + 98 more book reviews
This is a wonderful book! It is a clear representation of the destruction of a family which probably never should have been created to start with. Very well written and very engaging. I enjoyed the book very much.
reviewed The Poisonwood Bible on + 2 more book reviews
Everyone interested in the Congo, or the missionary era in Africa, should read this book. It is one of Kingsolver's most powerful works.
reviewed The Poisonwood Bible on + 3 more book reviews
I have never had much interest in African history, but this book made me want to find out more. Her characters, as in her earlier books, are very well realized and fascinating. The story begins with the arrival in the Belgian Congo of Nathan Price, fire and brimstone Baptist preacher, and his reluctant family. The family's story is told by Nathan's wife, Orleanna, and their five daughters - shallow teen-age Rachel, twins Leah and Adah, and five-year-old Ruth May. The voices of the characters are authentic and believable.

I was absolutely spellbound by the way the voices changed and the way they stayed the same from the first to the last of the book. One believes in the characters, they change and grow as the book progresses.

I felt very complete when I finished the book. It was a satisfying experience.