The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver (Review)

Summary:The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

Rating: 4/5

Review:All I can say after finishing this novel is: WOW. The scope of the story is tremendous, and not at all what I had expected going into it. In addition, Kingsolver's writing is simply phenomenal. I generally underline and write in the margins of my books, but I found myself unable to simply because every line was so perfect and well-thought out - I would have ended up underlining the entire book. There are specific scenes from this book that I have continued to think about before I go to bed because the imagery is so lovely and haunting.

Something is holding me back from giving the book a 5-star rating, and I am unsure whether or not I would be interested in reading it again. I need time to dwell upon it.. although I was very impressed I am hesitant to add it to a spot on the "favorite" list. It's definitely a recommended read from me, as I think there is a lot of terrific writing in addition to some very thought-provoking moments. My favorite books tend to either have extremely large overlying themes, or an in-depth character study. I think it's incredibly difficult to pull off both, which Kingsolver clearly was attempting to do. In addition to the incredible depth of historical/political/cultural information that was given throughout, I think some of these elements became burdened. While I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story, it was simply such a huge information-laden process that it lost some of the "purity" that seem to be present in my favorites. Despite its heaviness, it does not make this immense novel any less of a feat.

Final Thoughts:I would absolutely recommend this novel for anyone who is a reader. For the non-readers, it may be a long process - but one I would consider worthwhile.

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