The Poisonwood Bible

The Poisonwood Bible

by Barbara Kingsolver

Debbie Weiss (06/13/13): The Poisonwood Bible is the story of an evangelical Baptist preacher, Nathan Price, and his family. They move to the Belgian Congo in 1959 from Georgia on a mission trip with Nathan's intention of converting and baptizing the natives. Life is harsh and the political environment is not good, as the natives want their independence from Belgium. They resent all white people. The chapters are alternatingly narrated by each of the four daughters and occasionally by the mother, Orleanna. The author is adept at getting into each daughter's head and expressing their concerns and thoughts. We see the dissolution of the family over time. When the country is in turmoil and all foreigners are advised to leave, Nathan refuses to go, believing that he cannot abort his mission. Orleanna doesn't agree and leaves their little village of Kilanga with the girls in tow.

Much of the book follows each of the daughters after they leave the small village. Orleanna and one daughter return to the US, but the other daughters do not. Each takes an entirely different path from the other, their lives turned upside down by their stay in Kilanga.

Apparently Barbara Kingsolver spent time in the Congo as a youngster because her parents were involved in Public Health. The book is not autobiographical, but her first-hand experiences certainly helped to make the book authentic. I enjoyed the book and think that the author is an excellent writer.

Rating: ****

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