Book Review: The Poisonwood Bible

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.24.17 AM I’ve just finished the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and my review is very mixed. I personally love historical fiction that is well researched with really thought provoking and interesting topics ….i.e. for me, not politics (boring) or gangs (no one ever wins) or slavery (which breaks my heart too much for me to enjoy), and she does a really good job of both presenting her story and the background information that she presents.

It was a really interesting read for me because my Aunt and Uncle (only family on my Mum’s side) were missionaries in the exact same region for 10 years, and arrived only a decade after the Prices did. So many of the stories are exactly the same as those that I have heard all my life, right down to making peanut butter by smashing peanuts between rocks, and my youngest cousin was born in the village. I found it fascinating to learn soooo much more about the area and politics and so on, and I learnt a lot about the continent that I love and was born on, and it left me feeling terrible sad… but in a good congruent way. I knew bits and pieces so there were no shocks, but this really gave far more depths to some really serious issues.

On the flip side, while the characters in the book are fictitious and the dad is a complete lunatic, I have no doubt that as with all kinds of influential people in the world, many of them are complete fools and do the stupidest things in the name of God, country, family, etc and do soooo much damage!! Therefore coming from a family of missionaries and knowing how beautiful they can be and what amazingly good things many of them did and still do, but also knowing how stupid human beings can be, I spent a lot of time cringing through the book which is also good and congruent I guess.

It is a very long book and I love long books, but this one really dragged for me and I spent the last couple of weeks in bed without the mental strength to read such a deep and complicated book. The chapters alternate between 5 different characters, one of whom speaks only in riddles, so you have to keep thinking the whole time, and really be on the ball.

It’s thought provoking and impressive and beautiful and sad, but in my opinion it isn’t a holiday or recuperating book I don’t think. I love knowing how things turn out for people, even fictitious people, but the last 20% of the book felt like it really really dragged out and I found myself wishing for the end and determined to finish it as I knew that I would never give it another go just to know the ending. There is nothing worse than having three or four other books to read but having to plod through the one that you need to finish 😦

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