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The Poisonwood Bible

Average Rating 4.5
( 702 )
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(420)

4 Star

(157)

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(64)

2 Star

(37)

1 Star

(24)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Mish-Kid Memories Brought to Life

As a former missionary kid (Mish-Kid) this book brought back tons of memories. I have seen real-life characters that would have fit so comfortably within the pages of this book. The book, I believe, would be a fantastic read for many. I definitely would not say for e...
As a former missionary kid (Mish-Kid) this book brought back tons of memories. I have seen real-life characters that would have fit so comfortably within the pages of this book. The book, I believe, would be a fantastic read for many. I definitely would not say for everyone.

Not too many people will read it on a nostalgic level as I did, and for some others who grew up similarly to me, it would bring back emotions and memories they would best forget.

It brought back memories to me of the missionary to Borneo who spoke at my school when I was a 13 year old kid. He finished speaking and then invited all who would promise to someday go to Borneo as missionaries to stand, making public affirmation of this promise. No one stood. We were 13. Who knew what tomorrow would bring? The speaker, however, did not free us from the bonds of this assembly. He kept repeating the "invitation". After countless entreaties, we all stood up at once. We'd had enough and were ready to get back to doing the things we wanted. The speaker was thrilled. Did he think that his message had reached us? As far as I know, no one has gone on to missionary work in Borneo and I am now in my late 50's.

There was another fellow who sought to bring down the walls of Jericho. Jericho being a local bar. He and his church members marched around their Jericho, playing hymns with a trumpet and singing every night for some time...enough to bring down the walls of any modern day Jericho, if not at least to bring in the local authorities.

I totally enjoyed Poisonwood. I knew the people within its pages. Great book.

posted by Hygd on May 22, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

14 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

UGH Get Spark Notes instead!

I suffered through this tome because my son had to read it for school. If you like slow moving, liberal biased, caucasion bashing then this book is for you! The subtle praises for communism and not so subtle praises of socialism made me want to SCREAM! Oh and let's no...
I suffered through this tome because my son had to read it for school. If you like slow moving, liberal biased, caucasion bashing then this book is for you! The subtle praises for communism and not so subtle praises of socialism made me want to SCREAM! Oh and let's not forget that Christians in this book are all crazy, Thank goodness the daughters don't fall victim to THAT insanity! What a stupid and highly over-rated read The Poisonwood Bible is.

posted by ZomBee_Party_Member on August 5, 2011

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  • Posted May 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Mish-Kid Memories Brought to Life

    As a former missionary kid (Mish-Kid) this book brought back tons of memories. I have seen real-life characters that would have fit so comfortably within the pages of this book. The book, I believe, would be a fantastic read for many. I definitely would not say for everyone.

    Not too many people will read it on a nostalgic level as I did, and for some others who grew up similarly to me, it would bring back emotions and memories they would best forget.

    It brought back memories to me of the missionary to Borneo who spoke at my school when I was a 13 year old kid. He finished speaking and then invited all who would promise to someday go to Borneo as missionaries to stand, making public affirmation of this promise. No one stood. We were 13. Who knew what tomorrow would bring? The speaker, however, did not free us from the bonds of this assembly. He kept repeating the "invitation". After countless entreaties, we all stood up at once. We'd had enough and were ready to get back to doing the things we wanted. The speaker was thrilled. Did he think that his message had reached us? As far as I know, no one has gone on to missionary work in Borneo and I am now in my late 50's.

    There was another fellow who sought to bring down the walls of Jericho. Jericho being a local bar. He and his church members marched around their Jericho, playing hymns with a trumpet and singing every night for some time...enough to bring down the walls of any modern day Jericho, if not at least to bring in the local authorities.

    I totally enjoyed Poisonwood. I knew the people within its pages. Great book.

    16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    UGH Get Spark Notes instead!

    I suffered through this tome because my son had to read it for school. If you like slow moving, liberal biased, caucasion bashing then this book is for you! The subtle praises for communism and not so subtle praises of socialism made me want to SCREAM! Oh and let's not forget that Christians in this book are all crazy, Thank goodness the daughters don't fall victim to THAT insanity! What a stupid and highly over-rated read The Poisonwood Bible is.

    14 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2009

    Fantastic!

    Before I read this book for a literature class, I had read some of Barbara Kingsolver's short stories. I really liked them, but I wasn't sure how a full-length book would be. And I have to say, the Poisonwood Bible is a fantastic novel. Kingsolver's writing flows and and is full of imagery and detail. It is set in the Congo, and follows the family of Nathan Price, a fanatical Baptist preacher. The story is told through the perspective of the four Price daughters and occasionally their mother. Kingsolver's ability to change her voice to match the personalities of her characters is incredible. My personal favorite Price is Adah, the damaged genius who plays with words and cynicism, but even the characters I disliked had interesting points to make. Definitely worth reading! :)

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2012

    Huge disappointment

    The first two thirds of this book are fairly interesting and have good character development although it lacks in much of a plot. But it is a good chronicle of an ill advised missionary adventure of a possessed man and the family he drags along with him.

    The last third of the book is pretensous, boring, preachy, anti American, and anti Christian. In other words, all the same old blah, blah, blah that gets published a hundred times a year by all of these book-a-year authors. I started skimming just to get through the tedium.

    9 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent book!

    The Poisonwood Bible is a well written novel with an outstanding story line. Barbara Kingsolver does a remarkable job of placing the reader in the middle of the jungle along with her characters and she includes enough history of the Congo to make the reader believe that this is almost a true story...even though it isn't! This book is definitely a great read for anyone looking for a great story!

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2009

    The Poisonwood Bible- An outstanding novel

    When traveling there is one question that festers in the mind; what do I bring? I'm not sure if Ruth May, Adah, Leah, or Rachel could've ever known what to pack when their father, Nathan Price, dragged them and their mother to the Belgian Congo. They attempted to carry everything they believed they would need in order to live there for a year; which was a different idea in each family member's perspective. As the story progresses, you will discover that everything they brought couldn't have ever prepared them for the tragic and life changing experiences they encountered. The story of their lives in Africa as missionaries is told from the eyes of the Price girls and their mother. With each girl having their own unique experiences they will take you on a remarkable and painful adventure. Meet their limbless neighbor, savor along with them the precious bottle of Clorox, learn the long and arduous art of cooking in the jungles of Africa, and watch as each girl finds their way through this mysterious culture.
    Barbara Kingsolver does a truly amazing job giving the world a glimpse into the life in Africa and the struggles of missionary families in the novel, The Poisonwood Bible. I enjoyed reading the story through the daughter's narrations because they seemed realistic in the sense that many teenage girls can relate. Rachel's character sticks out to me in that she is a normal makeup-wearing and boy crazed teenage girl like myself. My heart went out to missionary families after reading this novel; especially the mothers. The thought of trying to raise a family in such a culturally different place as Africa is hard to fathom and for that reason I praise Orleanna's character. As I read this book I got a different outlook on my faith as a whole and I obtained a new appreciation for those who give themselves and their families away to the mission field.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Good book

    I loved the first 2/3 of the book and couldn't put it down. As they all got older though it was too depressing and never seemed to end. I found myself trying to hurry through it to get it over with.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2011

    Loved it.

    I am shocked that i liked this book as much a I did (I abhore organized religion) but it was a great read!

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    No Matter What Your Religious or Political Stance Is, This Is a Great Read

    If it were not for my English class, I never would have thought to read this book. However, I am glad that Ms. O'Brien did. On the surface this may seem like a chick book, but don't let the Oprah Club sticker fool you. This book is more about survival and faith while completely out of your element. Told from five points of view, this book follows a family of white missionaries into the Belgian Congo in the late 1950's and early 1960's. This book isn't preachy and stands out as a must-read. I have no doubt that this book will invoke profound thoughts in the reader. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Great read

    I love this book because the story is told through more than one perspective. I was hooked in the first few chapters. She is a very descriptive writer who takes you to the places she so eloquently desribes.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

    Recomend - interesting history lesson

    B&N why ARE your nookbooks priced higher than paperback? Will be checking out more of the free books for a while.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 3, 2010

    Mixed Review

    Very well-written TRASH... I am disappointed in the absurdly negative light Kingsolver has shed on Christian missionary work in foreign countries. Nathan Price is clearly not the norm, as she would lead the uninformed to believe. Smacks of self-aggrandisement... Did anyone else catch the nod toward her own parents' work in Africa, in the dedication?

    3 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2007

    A reviewer

    I thought this was a pretentious, boring, uninspiring waste of time. I persevered to the end for my book club but was constantly looking to see how many pages left to go. It did not evoke any emotions in me other than irritation and annoyance at the one-sided and limited portrayal of political realities.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    bad good bad

    starts out poorly. it gets good really good. then it gets nack to really boring. i am not interested in so much political writing.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2010

    Flawed

    I know a lot of people liked this book but I didn't. It has great character development and several interesting lines etc. but her argument is flawed.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2010

    If you like an epic story....

    From beginning to end, this story kept me engaged.
    As with Prodigal Summer, her characters become well defined and enrich the story through their observations. I especially liked learning about the differences in cultures and perspectives... I did not want the story to end, I'd like a part two!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    Realistic

    Excellent mix of fiction and history.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Barbara Kingsolver's thrilling book, The Poisonwood Bible

    I found it interesting the way that Barbara Kingsolver chose to portray the theme of conflicting cultures in this book. She chose a evangelical American priest, by the name of Nathan Price and his family to venture down into the Congo to try and convert the Congolese people to Christianity. The Nathan Price's arrogance and lack of understanding prevents him from doing this in appropriate fashion. He expects the Congolese to relish the teachings that he brings to them, and fails to understand that the native people had their own beliefs and were not going to change them readily.



    Kingsolver organized the book in a way that each of the women take turns narrating the story. Through this she protrays how the different characters were shaped by their experiences in the jungle. There is the vain, narrow-minded Rachel who says that "You can't just sashay into the jungle aiming to change it all over to the Christian style, whithout expecting the jungle to change you right back."



    I liked the book because of Barbara Kingsolver's ability to incorporate precise detail and in doing so give the reader a greater understanding of the situation

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2009

    Fabulous Characters

    Not knowing much about African culture and lifestyles, The Poisonwood Bible, has given me a new appreciation for the people who live there, as well as forced me to be more thankful the luxurious life I have. Kingsolver does a fabulous job drawing the reader in early and continuing to hold the reader's attention for most of the book with her wonderfully put descriptions and emotionally appealing events and characters. I have only complimentary things to say about the novel, except for the complaint that the last quarter of the book was a bit slow and focused too much on African history.

    The novel begins in 1959 with a Baptist family moving to Africa to do work for the Southern Baptist Mission League in Kilanga. Nathan Price, the father of the family, is the determined preacher who immediately starts out to be a character with highly controversial intentions and harsh actions. Along with him on the trip are his four growing daughters and constrained wife, Orleanna. Instantly upon starting the novel the reader is drawn into the four girls' personalities, which are displayed in the chapters they each narrate. Their personalities and contrasting opinions are what kept me intrigued and unable to stop reading.

    Kingsolver does a great job giving each of the girls her own precious and unique voice. It was very appealing to me to be able to see their different desires change throughout the novel through these distinct voices. Kingsolver brilliantly exemplifies their differences by having each girl notices particular details in Africa, of which they question and judge. And since each girl pays attention to different aspects of her new lifestyle, the reader is provided with crucial information on the setting, the character relationships, and African culture. Kingsolver also, in giving each of the girls extremely differing opinions, was able to successfully give the novel rich and intriguing characters that have questionable desires in an unbelievably life-changing experience for them, as well as provide thoughtful themes for the reader to discover. The girls' development into distinguished young women and the love I developed for them, and just the way Kingsolver portrays the complicated character relationships and events they're forced to encounter, makes the book one of my personal favorites.

    The only thing I can say that I truly disliked is the change of focus to African history at the end of the book. The beginning was filled with rich emotionally appealing events and thought provoking ideas, and the end is a lot about the country's development. I lost some interest in the novel at that point. Other, than that I would highly recommend the book, especially to those who are looking for a deeper gratitude for the lucky life they've been born into.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2008

    atypical missions

    This novel was an insightful look into the results and colonizing influences of Africa. Through the world view of Postmodernism, each of these women discovers an equally valid existence as they seek forgiveness and reconciliation with the world around them. The stereotype of missionaries is easily debunked after a little research into 20th century missions and reading of the whole Bible instead of excerpts. There is more hope offered in these along with the hope found in finding love and contentment in authentic community. This is an interesting read for those who would like a glimpse into postmodernism and African culture. Care should be taken as in any read to not believe everything one reads but seek truth at the source.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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