Monday, September 21, 2009
The Poisonwood Bible
I am pretty hesitant to write anything about The Poisonwood Bible, since I am so embarrassed that it took me this long to read it! I have had no interest in reading it since it came out in 1998 (11 years ago!) and it was about Africa and I just wasn't interested...When I was in Grand Junction last month, my friend Lynn and I were at Borders and saw it and she asked if I had read it. I trust her recommendations completely and so when she thought I would like it, I bought it. I feel like I am probably the last of anyone who reads on a regular basis to have read this book. And, as I said, I am embarrassed. Because, oh my God, what a great book! I can't believe that I took so long to try it!
For anyone out there who is even more in a cave than me about this book, it is by Barbara Kingsolver. It is the story of a family whose father is a preacher and he takes his wife and four daughters to Africa for a year on a missionary trip. However, at the end of the year there, he refuses to leave, so the family stays there, not happily. The story is told in chapters by the wife, Orleanna, and each of the four daughters, Rachel, Leah, Adah and Ruth May. The chapters were each short, which made the book very easy to read. It was a fascinating story that extended from about 1960 to 1986. The father had remained in Africa, but the others had left him and made their own ways shortly after he had refused to leave.
The authors characterization of each of the females was outstanding. I really felt as if I knew them individually. It occurred to me after I completed it last night, that it would make a really interesting book if Ms. Kingsolver wrote a book telling the father's version of the time in Africa. It would have totally taken away the power of The Poisonwood Bible to have given him a voice in it, but I think that his story would also make for a fascinating read.
This is a great book and for anyone who might not have read it, put it on your list! It is a book that I will go back and read again at some point. I am sure that I will get more out of it a second time!