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The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver - Bogormen
So many books, so little time.
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The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
Title: The Poisonwood Bible
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Genre: Cultural
Rating: 7/10
# pages: 614
Date read: May, 2008


Summary: The year is 1959 and the place is the Belgian Congo. Nathan, a Baptist preacher, has come to spread the Word in a remote village reachable only by airplane. To say that he and his family are woefully unprepared would be an understatement: "We came from Bethlehem, Georgia, bearing Betty Crocker cake mixes into the jungle," says Leah, one of Nathan's four daughters. But of course it isn't long before they discover that the tremendous humidity has rendered the mixes unusable, their clothes are unsuitable and they've arrived in the middle of political upheaval as the Congolese seek to wrest independence from Belgium. In addition to poisonous snakes, dangerous animals, and the hostility of the villagers to Nathan's fiery take-no-prisoners brand of Christianity, there are also rebels in the jungle and the threat of war in the air. Could things get any worse?

In fact they can and they do. The first part of The Poisonwood Bible revolves around Nathan's intransigent, bullying personality and his effect on both his family and on the village they have come to. As political instability grows in the Congo, so does the local witch doctor's animus toward the Prices, and both seem to converge with tragic consequences about halfway through the novel. From that point on, the family is dispersed and the novel follows each member's fortunes across a span of more than 30 years.

Review: Writing a review of this book is really difficult, because I honestly don't know what I thought of it - it was interesting, yet really slow, impossible to put down, yet boring. I think the best word for it is intriguing and I was really glad to learn more about Congo. One thing struck me though, if Barbara Kingsolver's research is accurate I'd have to agree with those who say that Africa was better off without us (I write 'us' because if it hadn't been the Americans, it'd have been another Western country taking advantage of them). Disgusting really.

I'd recommend it, but be warned that it's a slow read. Took me almost a month to get through.

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caffyolay From: caffyolay Date: May 5th, 2008 04:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, it's one of those books I'd almost call a *classic* but at the same time I'm not sure if I loved it or not. It was very depressing and extremely frustrating, but I'm glad I've read it.
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