The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver


It’s probably safe to say that this is my third favorite book. I read The Poisonwood Bible in AP Lit my senior year in high school. When my teacher first showed it to us, I both hated and loved how thick it was. Even if you do love to read, in high school, when a book is more that 300 pages long, you groan. And this book is about 550. So that meant reading about 100 pages everyday to finish the book, discuss and write an essay on it before a month was over. So I broke the number one commandment of reading: I judged a book by its cover (or its length).

But when I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. I was drawn into the lives of the Prices. I sympathized with Adah, the disabled twin and my favorite character; I pitied Leah, the whole twin who is constantly seeking the approval of her father; I laughed at the eldest daughter’s, Rachel, malapropisms and just general teenage-ness; I adored Ruth May whose childhood innocence could excuse her from almost anything; I had compassion for the mother, Orleanna, who only wants her family to survive; and I was irritated by Nathan, the father, and his controlling and borderline abusive personality. The novel follows the Price family over the course of a few years from their arrival to the Congo as missionaries to their eventual separate escape. Each character leaves in their own way, but I’ll leave you to read the book and find out how. You’ll laugh and cry and shake your fist while reading this book, I guarantee you. I have yet to read any of her other books but I assume they are just as good as this one.

I’ve started the book again this summer because I wanted to read it just for myself and not for an essay or for a grade. I’m enjoying it a lot more and seeing foreshadowing and events and symbols that I didn’t see before. Here’s a hint…….SPOILER (kind of. Skip next sentence if you want)…………..someone does die and it’s actually hinted at pretty heavily as to who it will be and how. I didn’t notice it the first time, but the second time around, I see that Kingsolver made it pretty obvious.

This is definitely a book to read on its own for a weekend, and I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.


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