#ThrowbackThursdayBookstagram: The Poisonwood Bible

#ThrowbackThursdayBookstagram welcomes THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver!

If you follow this series, you’ll know that last week, I talked about how I’m not a “literary” reader or writer. So when someone suggested reading this book, I was wary. I had only one previous encounter with a Kingsolver novel (Prodigal Summer), and though I loved the writing, the details of that book often bogged me down.

But I was pleasantly surprised by this book, which, per the publisher, “is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family [which includes wife, Orleanna, and four daughters: Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May] 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.”

Kingsolver is an author with a mission (some would say she has an agenda), and THE POISONWOOD BIBLE reads a little like she’s pushing it, but at the same time, the book reminds us that a whole world exists outside our own microcosms. That what we think of as typical in our own place can feel so wrong in another place. That what you’re used to where you live and those things you love might not look the same somewhere else. Those are relatable, real feelings, ones that I can’t ignore and that kept me reading, despite the long length of this book.

I also appreciated Kingsolver’s way with words, as she crafts a sentence in a way that I cannot. If nothing else, pick up this book to see what those sentences look like, for her comparisons are second to none. I also advise writers to look at this book if they are tackling the daunting task of multiple points of view, as Kingsolver manages to thread five voices in the epic novel.

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