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The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel Paperback – Jun 23 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; Reprint edition (June 23 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060786507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060786502
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,234 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,719 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
IMAGINE A RUIN so strange it must never have happened. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jana Lovell on April 7 2005
Format: Paperback
I though The Poisonwood Bible was one of the best books I have ever read. After reading a couple of other books by Barbara Kingsolver, which I happened to love, I decided to read this novel. This book is incredibly intense and has so many meanings. I am a sophomore in high school and for a research paper, I am comparing this book with Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Kingsolver actually used Achebe's novel for research for her own. While The Poisonwood Bible describes the infiltration of African villages by Christian missionaries through the eyes of the missionary's family who is forced to travel with him to the Congo, Things Fall Apart describes this invasion through the eyes of a powerful African man in his village. These books primarily preserve the culture and religions of Africa before Africa was colonized and the culture was influenced by outsiders.
My personal favorite character is Adah, a hemiplegic twin sister, who is very cynical but is able to view the world impartially. Writing in her backward ways, Adah prevails throughout the novel, finally accepting religion and herself.
I strongly recommend The Poisonwood Bible to anyone who is unaware of the exceptional African culture and the conspiracies leading to disruption in the normally peaceful country. Though I once thought of Africa as a primitive country, I now realize how exceptional their ancient customs are and truly appreciate their extraordinary languages and unusual religions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mabel on Jan. 14 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book. It's a little slow to get into because each chapter is from a different daughter's point of view; but once I was a quarter of the way through I abandoned all homework, and read straight through to the end.I recommend it to people all the time.
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Format: Paperback
It is hard to put down my thoughts here. I don't come from the same kind of background as the main characters but I understood and related to the mother, and all the daughters' experiences of the missionary father who was very brutal and a tyrant. The first half reminded me of a family saga, the second was more historical. Every chapter is written from the viewpoint of a different person which is a literary style I enjoy but the second half of the book was a change of pace for me and distracted me at first. Then I began to enjoy the style and yes, the history. I learned so much about the Republic of Congo and now I am interested to find a book on the history of that beautiful country.
Was I affected by the characters by the end of the book? Definitely a resounding yes. The author did a great job of bringing the characters to life and I could understand why each character acted and ended up the way they did except the father. I was mainly drawn to the mother because I have been in situations where I followed someone and ended up having to brave my own way with my children. The pain and guilt they all felt especially the mother came across very well. The last paragraph just blew me away and I ended up actually crying. I have never lost anyone that way ( I don't want to give any spoilers)but I can imagine I would feel much as the mother did. The ending was sweet and succinct. I want to read more by this author.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
... and the best one to my mind.... her descriptions of Congo, of the live of the family, the story line and the character development are all reasons why this book needs to be read!
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Format: Hardcover
I first discovered Barbara Kingsolver several years ago and loved her novels, The Bean Trees, and Pigs in Heaven. Even though she, herself, is not Native American, her books stand as were beacons of enlightenment about their often misunderstood world today and have been praised throughout the world. The Poisonwood Bible is a more ambitious book, and the landscape is the Belgian Congo, but her voice lays bare the same kind of clashes and misunderstandings that exist between cultures.
Well researched and deeply moving, it tells the story of a missionary's family from Georgia who move to the Congo in the late 1950s. The father is a religious fanatic, driven to convert the world to his brand of Christianity .His wife and four daughters have no choice but to respect his wishes. Using the technique of alternating first-person voices, each chapter is told from the point of view of these five female family members.
A poisonwood tree grows by their house. It is beautiful but it causes rashes and boils on the skin. It's a great metaphor.
There is the mother, Orleanna Price, who struggles daily with the effort of keeping her family together in a world that is suddenly devoid of electricity, plumbing and food. Precious wood must be found for the stove, water must be boiled to remove parasites, and vegetables do not grow. The oldest daughter, Rachel is 16. She misses her friends and her life in Georgia and yearns for nailpolish and hairdos. Then there are twins of 14: Leah and Adah. Both are smart and open to learn about the world around them but Adah cannot speak or move one side of her body. The littlest one, Ruth May, at age 5 teaches the native children to play games.
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