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Barbara Kingsolver - The Poisonwood Bible
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In 1959, Nathan Price, a evangelical Baptist who has taken his wife and four daughters on a mission to the Belgian Congo, finds that their... Read More
In 1959, Nathan Price, a evangelical Baptist who has taken his wife and four daughters on a mission to the Belgian Congo, finds that their traditions are no longer secure in this very different world, in a powerful story set against the backdrop of the Congo's battle for independence from Belgium. Reissue. 50,000 first printing. Minimize
123 Reviews from Epinions.com
Jan 2, 2003
The Poisonwood Bible is a powerful book.
Pros: Missionary work in deepest Africa, giving the reader a realization of right or wrong.
Cons: Difficult and tragic scenes, very realistically depicted. Not for children!
The Bottom Line:
The Poisonwood Tree is a tragic family saga, providing the reader with a deep insight into what their life must have been. Each character is wonderfully described by the author.
Missionary life on a horrifying mission!
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, is a tremendous book. It is a must read for all who care about humanity, tradition and respect.
Ms. Kingsolver wrote an extremely powerful book. The story revolves around the Price family. Reverend Nathaniel Price, his wife Orleanna and their four daughters, Rachel, Leah, Adah and Ruth May, set out on a Baptist Mission into the deepest Congo. They are originally from a small town in Georgia and this promises to be a dream come true for Rev. Price. The rest of the family must go along with this man, no matter what dangers may await them in the deepest jungle. He is a vicious and violent extremist in his beliefs and demands the conversion of the people of the Belgian Congo, without listening and heeding the warning signals. From the beginning the family is totally lost under the inhumanly, strange atmosphere of a people long living under terrible conditions. The Belgians treated them horribly, permitting bare necessities, as they themselves helped themselves to all their diamond-rich land had to offer. The diamond industry was in full swing, but the benefits went to the Belgians. Now the Price family appears! Rachel, a ripe teenager, who is mostly interested in her own very blond and beautiful good looks, would like nothing better than to return to the States and the enjoyment of being a popular member of her former schoolmates. The twins Leah and Adah, about 11 or 12 years old, are trapped into the daily demands of the father and their long-suffering mother. Leah is the perfect, physical beauty, and Adah is suffering from emotional and physical defects. Leah seems to be as close as any of the girls can get to the father. She is bright and very efficient. Adah seemingly cannot speak, she limps, due to an apparent birth defect, but she is brilliant and surprises the reader with her insight.
Then there is little Ruth May, who is about five years old. She is a bit of a tomboy, evidently cute as a button, and getting into trouble, while making friends with some of the native children. Enough said about that, as she will become a very beloved character in this tragic saga.
The story is told in short chapter forms, as each member of this dysfunctional family writes about her feelings. We get to know each character through HER own eyes. Notice that I did not mention that the father has any chapter. His religion and extremism are well detailed by each member of the family.
The book has many surprises and takes the reader through several decades of the individual lives of the family. It underlines the dangers of what so many missions have done to civilizations. It is difficult to even, to muster up any sympathy with the forceful father, who is known by his wife and daughters as Our Father.
The point that is well brought across is that the Belgian government, that today is pompously hosting a World Court against Political Criminals and World Criminals, causes the reader to stop and wonder, just where they have the right to say anything, when the abuse and decimation of a people was caused by them.
Enough said, the book must be read slowly and carefully and perhaps for the second time. If I could give it 10 stars, it would be well deserved.
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