The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; 1st edition (May 31, 2005), Paperback: 576 pages, ISBN-10: 0060786507, ISBN-13: 978-0060786502

The Prices, an American missionary family of six, attempt to bring Christianity to the Congo in 1959, but things do not turn out the way they hope. Instead, the land, people and customs are so foreign that the Congo imprints itself onto the family and irrevocably changes all of them. This story follows both the Congo’s trials and tribulations during this time as well as the lives within this family.

This historical fiction starts in 1959 in the Belgian Congo and continues through to 1990. The story is told in a first person narrative alternating between the five Price women, Orleanna, the mother and her four daughters: Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May. Barbara Kingsolver has 13 published books and has received several awards for her various works.

The Poisonwood Bible illustrates how war negatively affects people’s lives. The story shows first how World War II changed and destroyed Nathan’s life and ultimately led them all to the Congo. Since the majority of this book takes place in Africa during a time of war and strife, the heart-wrenching damage done to Africa and it’s people is continually revealed as this tale is told. The story is a clear indication of the evil and harm that greed and selfishness can do. This tale is well written with great character development.

I highly recommend this novel; it gives a really good description of Africa. I loved the picture Ms. Kingsolver draws of the pre-Belgian Congo. This is a standalone story with a great beginning and middle, I found the ending to be a bit weak, but overall still a really good read.

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