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The Poisonwood Bible Kindle Edition by Barbara Kingsolver

Click Here to Download the Book 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.

Reviews I read this book and listened to the audio version (thanks, Mom) a few years ago...about 2005 I guess. At the time I was early in my academic career at the university at which I work. My field is literacy and my focus is on adolescent literacies--the contexts and uses regarding multiple forms of text of people between the ages of 10 and 20. Having lived and worked only in the United States, that was focus. The Poisonwood Bible challenged me to think of my work, and by extension my life, in a larger global context. As I write this I am heading to Latin America in a week for the third time in four years to meet with university and K-12 school partners. Not a bad outcome for a novel. The Poisonwood Bible is about a family with four daughters who are dragged to Africa (the Congo) by their father, a damaged man with missionary zeal. The story is told through the voices of the women in the novel, the mother and the four daughters, and follows their lives for the next 30 years or so. Through their eyes we see the Congo emerge from Belgian rule and struggle, just to find a new identity, just as the women in the book struggle to find their identities. Kingsolver gives us a glimpse of history as it plays out in the 1950s through 1980s in Central Africa. This book stirred in me a passion to learn more about the world.

This is a wonderful book. It is about a missionary who takes his reluctant family to a small village in Congo in the 1950s. The title refers to Bibles that had printing errors in them, and they have become collector's items. In the African dialect of the area where the missionary family is, the word for poisonwood (a very poisonous tree)is almost the same as the word for wonderful (or something positive like that). The missionary father would say Jesus is Poisonwood. So no wonder the natives didn't want to have anything to do with this strange religion that was being forced on them. The whole book is a condemnation of the interference of the missionaries, the Europeans, the Americans into the lives of the Africans. The jungle will always win. In fact at the end of the book, we find out that the little village where the family lived no longer exists. (Reminds me of One Hundred Years of Solitude)The book is very rich in imagery of death, nature, snakes. One memorable scene is when everyone in the village has to flee from an army of ants that come through and eat everything organic in their way. As one of the sisters says, you must "appraise ant, human, and virus as


equally resourceful beings." Humans are just another creature trying to survive. I was surprised (but shouldn't have been) at the interference of the US into the affairs of Congo and Angola. Even though they held democratic elections, we didn't like who they elected, so the US armed certain people to make sure a US friendly leader was in place.

A fictional tale of a mentally-damaged missionary's quest to absolve himself of his inner demons by dragging his family to Africa to bring his version of salvation to what he believed were savage heathens (thereby cleansing himself of the tremendous guilt he feels at having cheated death). This tale was engaging from the first page. The author told this story through the eyes of the four Price girls and, at times, their mother. I think a lot of people might read this book and label it as anti-Christian rhetoric. I disagree. Yes, the antagonist was a 'fireand-brimstone Baptist preacher' hellbent on forcing conformity (and misery) on everyone and everything around him; however, I didn't see this as some kind of message that Christianity is bad. All religions at one time or another have been (and are being) distorted for selfish aims. Rather, I believe it was a tale of how people survive horrible circumstances and how it shapes them; how life will continue on despite the attempts of people to alter it and we should consider and appreciate that culture, civilization and beauty cannot be painted in the same color with the same brush. I liked all the characters (not because the were all likeable...Rachel anyone?), but because the author did such a brilliant job at giving them their own distinct voice and story. A wonderful read!

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The poisonwood bible kindle edition  
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