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and life along the winding road

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

It's the time of year when our local YMCA sells donated used books as a fundraiser so I stocked up. One of the books I picked up was The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Ms. Kingsolver is a gifted writer who drops you into the story and surrounds you with sights and sounds. In The Poisonwood Bible, the setting is The African Congo in 1959.

From the cover:
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.

My thoughts:
It's a wonder that anyone survived in Africa with the droughts, torrential rains, army of ants, lethal snakes, malaria and hook worms that bury into the soles of feet. During the late 1950s The Congo was struggling for independence from Belgium and the Price family, already struggling to survive in the jungle, were also affected by the battles that were going on around them. Fighting for control of rubber and diamonds, Europe was not willing to give away the land lightly. Sadly, they were willing to kill and murder to keep control. Even the CIA was involved in ousting a prime minister elected by the people. You can read more about the history here. Barbara Kingsolver gives us details of life and struggles of the family at the edge of the jungle, along with the day to day battles of the women with their domineering father who had no understanding of either his family or the village he was trying to baptize. It's a powerful book and would make a good book club read.


Joanne said...

This is one of her earliest books and I was hooked the minute I read it. She truly captures the human spirit within many themes. Glad you liked it.

K9friend said...

I've considered getting this one, but balked. Your review makes me think I will do it.