The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel

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The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel

by Barbara Kingsolver

HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS | June 23, 2005 | Trade Paperback

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel is rated 4.413 out of 5 by 92.

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family 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. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 576 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.99 in

Published: June 23, 2005

Publisher: HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0060786507

ISBN - 13: 9780060786502

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lives forever changed I am late to the game in reading this book just now. I remember all the hype from years ago when the novel was a best seller. I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. Told from 5 different perspectives, the novel provided a lot of insight into life in Zaire, the former Congo, and how 4 young girls and their mother's lives were forever changed by decisions made by their Baptist father and his missionary work. I was surprised that spending a year and a bit in the Congo so severely changed the lives of these young Americans. The things they must have seen/endured. I found the history lesson information, the changing narratives of interest and on the whole, the story was told in a very emotion-less matter-of-fact sort of way, which I felt improved the telling.
Date published: 2014-10-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Poisonwood Bible Definitely one of my favourite books ever! Reading it for a second time after a few years and enjoying it all over again!
Date published: 2013-11-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I really liked this The Price family moved from Georgia to the Congo in the late 1950s as missionaries. They had four daughters, three in their early teens. Rachel is the oldest and a bit of a princess, really only concerned with fashion. Leah and Adah are twins, only a year younger than Rachel. Both are very smart girls, but Adah doesn't talk due to a defect from before birth; Adah is also slower and has a limp. Ruth May is the youngest. The telling of the story of their time in the Congo (and dealing with their overbearing father) alternates between all four of the girls' points of view, plus occasionally their mother's POV is added in, but from the “current” day, looking back, whereas the girls' points of view are told from the time they are there. I thought this was really good. It is long, but I was interested. I even enjoyed reading Rachel's POV; though she's not a very likeable character, I enjoyed reading her view because it was entertaining and amusing, as she's not the brightest bulb so would make some amusing vocabulary errors. Adah was interesting due to the word games she would play. My favourite character (though I think she took a bit of time to grow on me at the start) was Leah. I wasn't as interested in their mother's point of view the occasional time that was inserted. Overall, though, I found the story very interesting – both the Price family story and learning a bit of the history of the time and place.
Date published: 2013-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Poisonwood Bible A good book with a great story that really keeps you thinking long after you have finished it. I'm still figuring things out about it. Religion and missionary work is the general storyline and how one family fits into the work and adapting to a new lifestyle in Congo. The story is told from each of the family members point of view.
Date published: 2012-04-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wonderful! This was recommended to me by a used book shopkeeper when I mentioned I was leaving for a long trip to Africa. Though it was a rather large book to transport, I do not regret fitting it into my backpack and leaving it at a hostel for an other traveler. The writing was very simple, never boring, and kept me entertained. A missionary, his wife and four children are sent to Congo to assimilate the native people to the Christian religion. Each chapter is narrated by one of the four daughter's as they tell the difficulties of living and growing up under such a different environment. The father, Nathan, is abusive and seems to be suffering post-traumatic stress in regards to serving in WWII and fleeing it. He feels the need to fill his regret and cowardliness of the war by attempting to spread the word of God, even though it puts his whole family at danger. I could keep going on forever on how entertaining and insightful of a read this was, but I wish to leave the rest to the next reader. Quick warning: This was a tear-jerker... Well for me anyway.
Date published: 2012-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this book I love The Poisonwood Bible. Barbara Kingsolver has a really lovely style of writing and I was completely engrossed in the story line. I really 'felt' these characters and at times felt heartache for them. A beautiful book that I highly recommend.
Date published: 2012-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic!! About a family of missionaries who go to Africa... This is about a family - the father is a missionary and he takes his wife, Orleanna and his 4 daughters to Africa in the 1950`s - to the Congo, to be specific. It is written in a very interesting manner - chapters are written in the first-person and alternate between the perspectives of the 4 daughters. There are a few chapters written with the mother, Orleanna, as the main character, however it is primarily from the perspectives of the 4 daughters - all very different and interesting characters. I think that what I liked best about the book is what I mentioned above - that made it interesting - to see what was going on in the village, from different perspectives as well as we got to know the personalities of the different daughters - and I started to feel well-connected to them. I think that author did a really wonderful job at that. The stories of the culture and people in the Congo was the other aspect that I found very interesting, and enjoyable. It depicts a different culture, and insights into how a language can really just be an extension of a people - as the different languages used by the Congolese people. It also shows that despite some very traumatizing events, people are who they are. Events are shown to shape the futures of some of the lives of the daughters, in ways that one would not expect. I loved this book, and found it extremely enjoyable.
Date published: 2011-11-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Be Warned: Big time-waster!!! For the life of me, I cannot figure out why this book got such high praise. All one has to do is pick up The Covenant by Mitchener and Heart of Darkness by Conrad and you'll have read something far superior on a similar subject ---don't know if I'll even bother finishing it
Date published: 2008-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly fantastic! I really didn't know what to expect with this book and I think I only bought it because it was an Oprah Book Club pick at the time. I was pleasantly surprised though, and truly enjoyed the story. The book is set in Africa, Congo I believe, during a time of extreme civil unrest. Not knowing anything of this particular point in history, it was fascinating viewing it from the perspective of a missionary family who had travelled there to bring religion to the area. I really enjoyed how the author followed up with the characters years after they left Africa to see the impact that living there had had on the various family members' lives. The book is also written by a different character for each chapter and it is a unique way of presenting the story. You may think that this would be confusing, but I did not find it so. This book is definitely worth a read!
Date published: 2008-07-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I agree with the other reviews Almost everything that has been written in the previous reviews I agree with. I also found this one hard to get into and it was almost painful for the first 100-150 pages. I tried to read it a first time and gave up shortly, but the second time I forced myself to read it and I am so happy about that! It is a beautiful novel that leaves you wanting the story to continue and it is very well researched and written in such a way that you feel as if you are there with the Price Family. Give it a chance it's a really good book.
Date published: 2008-07-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Unforgettable Journey Having read this book, it is easy to understand how it has become such a bestseller. A beautifully written story that forces us to consider how far one will go in the name of religion. The Poisonwood Bible tells the story of an evangelical Baptist minister who takes his wife, four daughters and his mission from a small town in Georgia to the Belgian Congo in 1959 and the unspeakable tragic consequences for the Price family as they confront the unstoppable forces of nature, and history.
Date published: 2008-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from on the top ten favourite books of all ten list This book is amazing. I absolutely loved it, and I've read a lot of books. Not only was the story phenomenal, but while you're reading it and after it's over, it makes you think. I found it life changing. Poisonwood Bible questions traditional vs. modern, nature vs. science.... It evokes emotion for the characters, has excellent character development... This book is real. I loved it.
Date published: 2008-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Discourse This book is a perfect read for a book club. Long though it may be, it deals with issues such as religion, innocence, humanity, culture and politics. Written through the eyes of five very different characters, it seems this world truly exists with all of its harsh realities.
Date published: 2008-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Book This is an amazing book. The writing is wonderful, the characters seem so real you feel you know them and you get a real feel for the place and time. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2007-11-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The smell of Africa permeates the text. The voices of the wife and daughters of a rather dumb missionary in Africa tell the story and you feel as though you are there. When the local chief finally understood the first past the post democratic system of voting and walked into the church to call on a vote for or against God I laughed and laughed. Hope I don't get sent to hell.
Date published: 2007-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic!!! I think this has to be one of the most enchanting novels I have ever read. It is a story of an American family who try to rescue an African village from their own way of life. The cruel hardships they endure while in Africa have a lasting impact on their family. This is a MUST read.
Date published: 2007-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read for women If you are a female, you must read this novel. I have never read a story where the bonds of sisterhood and motherhood are presented so honestly, where you see bits of yourself in characters personalities, thoughts and actions. By the time I finished this novel, this family was as real to me as my own. I loved it.
Date published: 2006-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Book!!! I could not put this book down from start to finish. I felt like I was feeling every emotion each characters was going through. Some parts even brought me to tears. I also like the fact that I learned a little bit more about the African Culture and thier way of life. This book is amazing, I would definately read it again and again.
Date published: 2006-08-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It took 2 shots I tried reading this book twice, the first time I just wasn't into it. The second time I made myself stick with it and I'm glad I did. It was a sad story set in a real time...I would recommend this book.
Date published: 2006-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Put it on your "must read list" This is a book I will keep in my library and encourage my childern to read. Although the size may seem daunting to some it is well worth the effort. It is beautifully written, evoking a multitude of emotions. You will not be disappointed.
Date published: 2006-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Twisted religion At first i just read this book as a curious endever, but as i continued my joureny further into the world of this crazy minister and his family i was pulled into a universe of and upside down world. The bible almost seemed to pull this family in so far they couldnt escape it, the father was especially obsessed with the bible and making everyone around him believe "Jesus is bangala" even at the cost of his family's sanity and his youngist child's life. Eventually some of the family mambers escape this crazy conglese world and get back to america but cannot believe in religion ever again as a result. I loved this book made me look at religion in a new way, instead of just thinking religion is there and so is the bible and that's all fine and good. I started thinking maybe the bible means somthing else and is more of aa obsession then an acually religion, amybe people become so comsumed with it they cannot escape even if they wanted to. The poison wood bible is one of th best books i have ever read it is the one i check out the most from the library. I believe that everyone shoudl be sucked into the world of the poison wood bible.
Date published: 2006-07-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very interesting read! Nathan Price takes his wife and four daughters to the Belgian Congo to be missionaries during a very politically turbulent time. Nathan is unyeilding in his belief that God will provide, and also that the simple people they come to live with must be baptized. The story is told by his wife, and their daughters, who deal with Nathan's hard and unrelenting religious zeal, which includes beating them 'in the name of God' and making them write out 'The Verse' as punishment . Nathan's inability to see the real truth brings about the psychological disintegration of the family, until finally there is a disaster that shatters the family forever. The story spans a number of years, and shows how the women of the family change during this time, and how Africa changes. It is interesting to see how completely different the daughters view their lives. The only thing they have in common is their fear and loathing of their father. I have to say I really hated Nathan in this book!! I got bogged down a little towards the end with Leah's stories, but unltimately I found this to be a very good book.
Date published: 2006-06-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Whoa How far will you go for religion? This book shows how a family can lose everything in the name of God. Would you do the same?
Date published: 2006-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Summer Read Being a first time reader of Kingsolver I must say I was not disappointed. I read the book while on vacation this winter and was deeply moved by the characters. Rarely will a book ever bring me to tears but this one did. Not only was this book a great read but educated me on African culture and conspiracies which lead to the disruption in this country.
Date published: 2006-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Kingsolver out-does herself I read this book a couple of years ago and still think about it. I am a fan of Kingsolver, my first book being 'Pigs in Heaven'. I always thought of her as a 'summer read' (easy and light) but with enough literary talent to keep you thinking (i.e. NOT Danielle Steele). However, I had to reassess that assertion after this book. It's a depature from her other novels in that it takes on the political and cultural situation in Africa. Well-researched and thoughtful, this book is definately less 'light' than her previous novels but equally entertaining.
Date published: 2006-02-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hard to Get Through I found this book terribly hard to get through. It started off really well and interesting, but it lost me somewhere in the middle. I could not wait to get it over with.
Date published: 2005-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking I read this book almost five years ago. I could not get it out of my head. Not only is this an amazing story about the human spirit, but it's also educational. Thank you Barbara Kingsolver to giving me food for my thoughts. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking the truth of what really goes on in the world, while we continue to live our very comfortable lives in the Western world.
Date published: 2005-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent book ! i loved this book. not only was it interesting, but it really got me thinking about a lot of things, questioning myself and my priorities and my consumerism. it is one of the best books i've read in a long time.
Date published: 2005-07-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Confusing I found the book to be very long and very confusing. I constantly had to go back to the preceding pages for clarifications.
Date published: 2005-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! This book, although hard to start was one of the most remarkable books I've ever read. The format of going from woman to woman is a great idea and keeps it interesting on top of all the other climactic points. I think that's one of the best parts is that, while all 5 women are telling a story, you get 5 different climatic points. It's wonderful and should be read by all. A box of tissue may be necessary for some, but it's truely a remarkable story of heroism and the life women lived.
Date published: 2005-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must read! The Poisonwood Bible is fantastic! It is everything you could ask for, the author writes a brilliant story, twisted with a history that was too quickly forgotten, it will grab hold of your heart and mind until the very last page. I recommend this book to everyone.
Date published: 2004-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Read of Last Summer The Poisonwood Bible is on my list of best books ever. Kingsolver shows her stunning mastery of voice in this book, you can tell which character is speaking within 5 words. The story is alarming, sad, vivid and wise. This is one of those give-it-to-everyone-then-go-buy-her-other-work kind of books.
Date published: 2003-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Entertaining and Enriching The Poisonwood Bible is a book that taught me to think differently about Africa. I consider this type of book priceless. It is also very entertaining and a good size. It is written from the point of view of different women, and so each chapter shows the same world through different character's eyes, but the story flows along beautifully, teaching as it goes.
Date published: 2002-11-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Poisonwood Bible Barbara does an excellent job of revealing the turmoil in the Belgian Congo from the late 50's to the early 90's. The middle 300 pages held me riveted, and I could not put this book down. Too much Orleanna at the beginning, which confused this reader. Too much Leah in the final 120 pages. If we were to relate to Orleanna at the start, we needed to hear more from her at the end. Adah and Rachel needed more involvememt at the end of this story to statisfy this reader's expectations. All in all, a very satisfying way to spend a cold Sunday. Barbara captured 8 hours of my day, and I will recommend this to friends as a good way to spend a winter day.
Date published: 2002-10-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lost in the Congo While I enjoyed the female characters and the comparison of their lack of power over their father with the lack of influence the Congolese had on the government and their daily struggle to survive within this world - I found the male characters very one-dimensional and the entire last third of the book redundant and lost.
Date published: 2001-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page Turner I have purchased the majority of Oprah's Book Club paperbacks and I must admit that I kept hesitating to actually buy it, as the cover did not grab my attention. Now that I have purchased it and read it, it is a very good novel. I got a kick out of all the characters and can only imagine what the living conditions are like in the Congo. I was never bored with this paperback!
Date published: 2001-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Poisonwood Bible Just by the number of reviews given this book, you know its got to be somewhat exceptional. I was, I'll admit, surprised at how much I liked it, being a little skeptical as I started out. Female writers, well....you know. They don't think like males. But anyway, all you guys out there, go ahead and risk it. Kingsolver has a way of making even the everyday mundane events of life interesting. She's got this, well, style.
Date published: 2001-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful! This book is very engrossing. It took me a bit of time to get used to the style. I felt as if I were in the Congo; living in this family and learning history at the same time. The latter half of the book was not as satisfying as the first, but all in all, a wonderful read.
Date published: 2001-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Best Yet! This book was one of the best I have ever read. Not only did it teach me the history of the Congo, I felt as though I was there. Her characters are beautifully crafted, her descriptions are one of a kind and the plot will take you for a disturbing ride you can never forget. Her writing style was eloquent. You see the story through the eyes of five very different characters. It touched my heart and soul. I could not put this book down. What a priveledge!
Date published: 2001-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent book I was a little skeptical about how interesting this book would be when I first began reading it. As I read furthur, it really engulfed me. Kingsolver is an extremely talented author as she really does an excellent job in portraying the different characters in the book.
Date published: 2001-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from surprising I found this book to be very descriptive and a great read. If you remember that it is a well written work of fiction you will find it time well spent. I found the characters to be what I imagined they would be like if they were following their dad to the Congo. As I read through each chapter I saw them grow and could really relate to them. It easily moved up my list of all time favorites.
Date published: 2001-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Book I thought this book was wonderful. The author did such an amazing job of establishing the characters and their personalities that you knew who was "speaking" even before you read the chapter. The author writes in a style that is both humourous and witty as well as intelligent and insightful. This book made me want to know much more about Africa and it's history as well as opening my eyes about this amazing culture and its hardships. Because of the amazing writing style and intricate detail, I felt like I was there. The characters are wonderful, poignant and have a lesson to teach us without preaching. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2001-01-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Worst Book I've Read I can't believe so many people enjoyed this book. I purchased this book after reading these people's reviews and now I'm sorry I did. It took me about 3 months to read it. The contents just didn't grab me. This book was a big disappointment and waste of money!
Date published: 2001-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific! I thought this book was wonderful. I couldn't put it down, I completely lost track of time while reading it. Both the plot and the writing style fully engaged my attention. The writing style was so beautiful that I felt like crying from envy of the writer's talent. I would highly recommend The Poisonwood Bible.
Date published: 2000-12-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Lost interest! This is not a book I truly enjoyed. Even though it shed light on missionary life in Africa, the content just did not grab me. I kept reading waiting for something more. I read the first quarter of the book and put it down for about a month and then got back to reading it. For me it was a disappointing read.
Date published: 2000-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating Barbara kingsolver is a gifted writer who tells a story that is so rich in its character development and history, that one becomes truly engrossed in the story she wrote. This novel is one of the best I have read in a long time!
Date published: 2000-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from diane from near Ottawa A very thought provoking book, that explores the different levels that people reach in the pursuit to fix the world and to achieve atonement for the sins of other's--none of them achieve what they want but all struggle valiantly and perceive that their way is the only way--even if nature and God get in the way. An interesting look at mother's and daughter's and the human capacity for misunderstanding. I really could not put it down!
Date published: 2000-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Poisonwood Bible An engaging read. Kingsolver has written a truly interactive novel that commits the reader to self-examination of belief systems and how they are taught. The first three quarters of the book create adrenalin-filled moments for the reader, following this ill-informed family that is destined to self-destruct. In the last quarter of the book, Kingsolver attempts to complete the development of her characters but fails to maintain the readers attention. With that said, this is definitely a book to give as a gift to someone you love.
Date published: 2000-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from enjoyable I quite enjoyed this book and I found learning about another culture to be the most interesting. It was a good story that kept me reading.
Date published: 2000-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Imagination Buffet I read this book, unsure of how I would like it. I have never read anything about te Belgian Congo, and was quite surprised to find that it was amazing! Kingsolver creates a world so vivid, it is impossible for any reader to not become emotionally involved with the characters portrayed. It was captivating, beautiful and dangerous. It was picturesque, and allows the reader to become totally wrapped up in the world being created on the page. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a book that strays from the average read.
Date published: 2000-11-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Multi-Dimensional For those of us who have not travelled extensively, Poisonwood bible is an escape "into Africa," and I found the book to be an adventure novel with depth. Poisonwood Bible deals with hypocrisy and irony without being clicheed, and that's part of the reason it's such a strong book. Irony jumps off the pages at the reader. The book doesn't answer the questions it poses, it leaves the reader to do so. A multi dimensional book and a great read!
Date published: 2000-11-03
Rated 1 out of 5 by from What am I missing? I scanned these reviews and was shocked and not a little perplexed at the general enthusiasm surrounding this book. I felt it was painfully long-winded and at the end, almost unreadable. How does this slow and awkward book change your life? The author seems to be trying far too hard to be "deep" and "contemplative", with, for me, disasterous results. I would not burden anyone I know with this book.
Date published: 2000-11-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from I disagree with all of you I can't believe how many of you enjoyed this book! I thought it was awful! The first half was a little interesting, but soon after I could have put it down and never picked it up again. I was waiting for it to get better and it never did. I found that the characters did nothing but whine. They were not proactive in anything that they did. This book simply dumped on religion and honestly I am tired of those sorts of books. I would never recommend this book to anyone
Date published: 2000-10-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth the Read The first half of the book is spellbinding. You will be captured by the story of the Price family, as they move to the Congo from the United States. The novel is told by Orleanne Price (mother) and the Price's four children. Now I say the first half of the book is great but then, for me it become ok at best. This novel needed to be longer, much longer. The book was very rushed, and lately many of the books I have read, are the same. Where it seems like the author was told they were only allowed to write a certain number of pages and then that was it; No more. This book could have easily been a collection of novels. This book as the beginning (up to and including the snake and the chicken coop scene) and then 6 additional novels. One novel for each member of the family. Nathan's story I think would have been very interesting as well the other girls. I felt like I only got a taste of their experiences, when you can tell that Kingsolver had a lot more to say about each character. Definitely worth the read but don't expect the hype that it received. Side note... if you know the Bible it will help in your reading of the book, if you haven't - or do not have every verse memorized, like myself, consider having a bible handy, to look up what they are talking about in sections of the book.
Date published: 2000-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from richly characterized This book was a pleasure to read. It was so cleaverly written and delightfully characterized. I felt I knew each of the characters personally by the time I was finished the volume. Poisonwood has so many wonderful literary references each one lending the story more depth and complexity. I enjoyed it thoroughly and highly recommend it.
Date published: 2000-10-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Poisonwood Bible WILL change you. This book opened me. It opened the feelings about my faith and my family to me. It made me want to revisit feelings that I have had about how I was raised as a Christian and examine how different we all see one God. It also made me compare myself and my siblings to the Price sisters and see just how close and how far we are, too. Barbara Kingsolver has a true talent for putting voices to so many different types of people all in one book. You can feel each person's joy and pain with each chapter, whether they "penned" it or not. This book is truly a bible or sorts. It groups so many stories of one life together and allows you a window into their fears and dreams. I will never forget it.
Date published: 2000-10-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Poisonwood Bible I chose to read this book to learn a little bit about my history. Both of my father's parent were missionaries in Africa and neither my father nor his children ever really knew them. I wanted to know what motivated them, what their life was like and how they were received. While I may or may not have learned more about my grandparents, I found this novel filled a place in my heart. The women in this story are so varied, yet all so strong in their own ways, that you can't help but learn from each of them. I found myself putting this book down, not because I did not want to read any further, but because I wanted to make the story last as long as I could. I have now passed this book on to my boyfriend. I am interested to see how a male responds to it. I would recommend this book to all who wish to learn something new and feel proud to be a woman (person) with something to offer, no matter what that may be.
Date published: 2000-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More praise What more could I add that hasn't already been said? It is an excellent read. Some may find the last couple of chapters long and out of place. I would suggest you think of them as closure on each of the character's lives... even Ruth's.
Date published: 2000-09-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Posionwood Bible This amazing book cronicles the life changing journey of the Price family, as they leave their comfortable home and surroundings in the US. They selectivly pick and pack up all their essentials and head for Africa. The trip and the trials they encounter are amazing. This book challenges us to look at things from a totally different perspective, shows first hand how wrong it is to assume that everyone shares our view. I just returned from a trip to Ghana, and this book just captivated me. The descriptions, scenery, habits, lifestyles, and totally different out look on life as described in this book are extremly accurate. The native people they meet have no conception of things as we know them in North America. Ganahians are the same...they have no material posessions, no "things" and yet their lives are happy, and they are content. This is something beyond our imagination...we who live in North America with so much at our fingertips, take everything for granted. If you get the message of this book you will clean the clutter out of your life....get rid of junk and focus on things that are really important. What a message. What a book!
Date published: 2000-09-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Family Tragedy So - OK - my rating isn't as generous as the others. Although a good read and I learned alot about the history of the Congo, I felt the book could have been half the length and still portrayed the same story. It dragged in some places and I had to force myself to plough through. The tragedy that the missionary lost his family while trying to save others was so obvious to all but the one who needed to see it - I just wanted to shake him and tell me to wake up and take a look around him. Maybe my expectations of the book were high based on the other reviews and hence my lower rating.
Date published: 2000-09-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Poisonwood Bible Excellent! I couldn't put it down, and the first page just drew me in with it's amazing, poetic descriptions of the Congo. It felt like I had been there after I read the book- it affected how I saw things in our world. The use of 5 narrators was also excellent, as the different perspectives offered by each of the daughters and mother really let us sit in the tree top and watch the action. Highly recomended!
Date published: 2000-09-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Breathtaking Journey I sat down in Chapters to simply waste a little time and grabbed this book off the shelf. I simply liked the title. After reading 60 or so pages, I was drawn into the world of innocence & guilt, naivety & purpose, the pain & joy... This book is a convincing glimpse into the African wilderness (specifically the Congo) and history where you are left asking what people have been asking for years - why? This novel convinces you of the realities and educates about the falsehoods about the Congo in Africa. This novel is an everywoman's book (mother, child, wife, etc) and reveals the intermingling of relgious convictions in the big picture of the historical battle for independence in the Congo. This novel was brilliant.
Date published: 2000-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shook Me to the Core Wow...this book shook me to the core, it made me re-think everything I had believed in God, death, life, the human spirit and the meaning of life. Definitely a powerful book that every person (women especially) should read. As told from the view points of each daughter and wife/mother Orleanna, this book is a page turner in every sense, throwing you into the Congo without choice. You sleep it, you breath it. You can't get away from it and when you finally read the last sentence, you come out changed forever.
Date published: 2000-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Amazing Story My Mother recommended this book to me and I found that it was terrific summer reading. For four days I found myself emmersed in the Congo.I barely did anything else while I was reading it. All the female characters were fearless in dealing in with their difficult situation. I didn't think I would enjoy such a politcal novel but the turbulent events were so important to the paths each character choose. Don't dismiss this amazing story.
Date published: 2000-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Precious! The reality of life in the Congo relayed by Barbara Kinsglover in "The Poisonwood Bible" is nothing short of overwhelming. A forceful realization that the word 'freedom' when used outside the western world, means something else altogether. The characters are still alive in my mind and the struggle even more so.
Date published: 2000-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best of Kingsolver Ms Kingsolver has gone through very sophisticated research for her last novel. The living conditions and the perception of Congo natives are described with respect and a great deal of sensitivity. The story is told alternately by the preacher's wife and each of their four daughters. Each of them has a distinct point of view, a different emotional background which comes through in the different tones used by the author. A book that still inhabits you after you have finished it.
Date published: 2000-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deeply moving This is a book that can be read on any number of different levels. It is a story about a family, it is about relationships, it is about what we do to our land and other people. The book tells a story of Africa which is too often ignored. It is so beautifully written, you are sure to become attached to the characters and want to visit this wonderful land. There is humour, joy, sadness - a whole range of emotions. One of the best books I have read.
Date published: 2000-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Devouring History I've never devoured history with such gusto, as reading this powerful and engaging novel by Barbara Kingsolver. She reveals the real Africa through her intrepid women and a socially blind evangelist preacher. Kingsolver's detailed research and knowledge has been transformed into a uniquely written novel told in the voices of the 5 females who weave the threads of their experience and three decades of the real Africa, commencing in the late 1950s. I never thought I could be enthralled by history. This book should be on every literate person's shelves.
Date published: 2000-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Poisonwood Bible Beautifully written and exciting to read. Certainly an eye opener to another way of life. A must must read!
Date published: 2000-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A friend-pick months before Oprah My friend sent this book (along with Angela's Ashes) to me in Calgary for my birthday. There is no greater present than good books for your birthday. I must say that I was surprised at her choice of book for me, and was somewhat skeptical about the read. Having been born in Africa, there is something in the book that reminds me of home. I was only 1 1/2 years old when we left, but this book manages to capture that which I remember. I enjoyed the book and the manner in which the story is conveyed. I gave this book a lukewarm recommendation to my husband, but it is certainly much better than a number of books I have had the misfortune to read recently.
Date published: 2000-08-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hits you in the gut! This was a great book! I didn't dare put it down for fear I would forget some important detail from one sitting to the next! I found the beginning and the ending to be a bit slow but the special touch the author used of having the Mother and each of the four daughters tell the story in their own words, added to the effect. Just finished it yesterday and wish I hadn't read it so fast!
Date published: 2000-08-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from And I thought my life was tough! I found Barbara Kingsolver's book to be one of most excellent stories ever writen about the history of the Congo. Kingsolver's characters captured my attention from the first page. Following the story through the eyes of the mother and her young daughters, especially Hannah, (funny how her name is spelled the same backwards...). The hardships endured, joys, heartaches, and culture of the village, were vividly portrayed. The simplicity and acceptance of life through their eyes, heart and soul, along with their isolation and tolerance of the culture depicted spiritual weaknesses and strengths. I loved how the barriers were broken in building relationships through love and not the color of their skin, lessons learned out of necessity to survive. Left to their own devices, the women grew to love, hate and accept their circumstances and became "one of them".. History about the Congo weaved itself into my soul and I found myself feeling the pain that this country endured under the governments that ruled over the three decades. Being molded by a culture, and the love-hate environment during this history making event gave me the greatest understanding of an event I had no idea about. I couldn’t put the book down!
Date published: 2000-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the Best! The Poisonwood Bible is a book I will keep for a long time. Barbara Kingsolver has a way with pulling you into the hearts of her characters. I will not be able to think of the Congo without thinking of the Price family and the heartbreaking truths that they had to face. A great coming of age book not only for the children in the book but especially for Orleanna Price, the mother. Kingsolver interlaces history, race, religion, personal perseverance and politics all into a compassionate story about a preacher, his wife and four sisters who have to learn lifes lessons in the wild jungl
Date published: 2000-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from History 101 If you want to learn more about the history of the Congo, pick up this book! No lectures, no professors...pure enjoyment.
Date published: 2000-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gripping must read I read this book a couple of months ago and will read it again soon. I actually cried while reading and never wanted the story to stop. I have raved about this book to countless friends and actually have lost track of my own copy lent out. I have yet to read something as enjoyable! My next mission is to get a BIG PRINT copy so my grandma can read it before she fails. The characters were all very intriguing. My favorite book so far.
Date published: 2000-07-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Poisonwood Bible Several months ago, while waiting for a friend in front of a bookstore, I recommended one of Oprah's book to a stranger looking for something to read. In turn, she went and picked out The Poinsonwood Bible and told me to read it. I wish I could find this woman now. The characters in this book are so well developed that I actually related to each of them. Seeing the Congo, Nathan, the mother, and the girls themselves from the point of view of each one provides a wonderfully rounded picture where you can almost feel the heat, smell the smells, and agonize with the pain. Barbara Kingsolver is one of the very best!
Date published: 2000-07-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Poisonwood Bible Amazing - I read this book a couple of months ago and cannot stop telling friends about it. I could not put it down and yet I had to because I did not want it to end. I love the strong characters that develop throughout and the strength of the plot. I would definitely put this one on my must read again list as soon as I get it back.
Date published: 2000-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from return to reading I was always an big reader, but after having a child I have found it hard to find the time. Well, with this book I find the time. I picked it up on the way to the cottage and found it hard to put down. Just love the way she is able to go from one sisters view to the other. I am about 1/2 way through, and I love reading the chapters on Rachel. GREAT GET BACK TO READING BOOK!!
Date published: 2000-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Summer Reading I was amazed that Oprah had choosen this book for her summer slection. I had purchased this novel about six months earlier, as suggested by a friend. I had started it and found it very boring to read, I had lost interest and put it away, until Oprah has selected it, so my thought was now I must read it as I have read all of Oprah's book club picks in the past. Well I'm glad I gave it a second chance, I could hardly put it down. I finished it an hour ago and am still amazed at what that family went through. I found I had alot of different emotions throughout the book.
Date published: 2000-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Slice of the Congo As I read the first page of this book I wasn't sure how to take it. This is not my normal style of reading. I am more of a mystery/murder reader but on the second page I was hooked. This book changes how you think about religon / fanatics and poverty in the world. The assumptions made by the Price family are assumptions we would all make in that situation. This book takes you to the Congo and tells you a real story about a fictional family. I couldn't put it down!!!!
Date published: 2000-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Excellent I bought this book last year on the strength of Kingsolver's 'Bean Tree' books about Turtle and her mother. The Poisonwood Bible transports you to another time, another place. Each of the characters are strong, and the reader can't help but have compassion for their situation (except Nathan). It is one of the few books that I have re-read not once, but two or three times, because each time I find new insight. I've been spoiled by this novel - I keep hoping to find another that will take me in the same way, but they are very rare.
Date published: 2000-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Poisonwood Bible WOW!!....I'm not even finished yet and this is by far the best book I've read in years. Barbara Kingslover has a way of weaving a story that keeps you not only interested but makes you feel like you are really in the Congo in the '60's. Oprah has finally picked one you don't want to miss!!
Date published: 2000-06-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Poisonwood Bible I am only 65 words into the book and it reads so eloquently. The writing is amazing and the story line is almost unbelievable (yet incredibly well told).
Date published: 2000-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Satisfying Imagery Kingsolver's words melt like chocolate on your tongue. Poetic, beautifully written story. Could be a one-nighter if you didn't want it to last forever.
Date published: 2000-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Stunning! I purchased this book on the strength of a friend's recommendation. She said to me, "I think I've been spoiled from ever reading another book." Strong words - it had to be good. When I finished reading it, I knew exactly what she meant - the characters lingered in my thoughts for days, so that it was impossible for me to focus on my next book. I've read all of Kingsolver's work and The Poisonwood Bible is her best yet! I thoroughly enjoyed it; I found that I was really taking my time, savouring each page as if I was sampling a glass of very fine wine. It was a delight from start to finish and it has left a permanent mark on my mind. I will never look at a palindrome without thinking of Ada! I know I will read The Poisonwood Bible again. It was wonderful.
Date published: 2000-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An A+ Must Read This big (560 pages) is a book that must be read. Poisonwood Bible has everything a great read must have; mystery, adventure, drama and heart. The style of writing is superb. I bought Poisonwood Bible as a big book to read over the summer months. I finished it within a few days...it was that difficult to put aside for other things. What a wonderful gift to give to friends and family.
Date published: 2000-06-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "A Mighty Pen" Barbara Kingsolver's pen is indeed mightier than the sword: through her expertly crafted "Poisonwood Bible" she is able to narrate the birthing pains of the Congo and the attempts of a poor misguided Evangelist to save it. This is her best novel by far and there is no excuse not to read it. Enjoy!
Date published: 2000-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the poisonwood bible I decided to read the book because it was one of Oprah's picks. In the past her picks were amazing, but this book blew me away. It opened my heart to wanting to help other people even more. Eventhough there is a mention of religion I was still very impressed. I recommend this book to every avid reader, and even the person who's trying to find a book to read. I guarantee after the experience of this book, your new passion would become reading.
Date published: 2000-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WONDERFUL This is an amazing book. Although this is a fiction, the reader learns about the horrible life that people live in the Congo, it is funny,sad and interesting all at the the same time. Read this book and you will not be disappointed!
Date published: 2000-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a Must Read I laughed, I cried, I couldn't beleive how much I enjoyed this read! I think it's the best story I have ever read. Very different than other Kingsolver plots and settings.
Date published: 2000-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Definitely worth reading! Picked this book up as a "back-up" but found myself unable to put this down. I would NEVER have imagined being so captivated by a book about the Belgian Congo. Kingsolver writes beautifully. It will be very difficult to find something good to read after this.....
Date published: 2000-04-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from why isn't this top of the bestseller lists? A powerful novel, beautifully crafted. Kingsolver's creation of five distinct narrative voices to tell the story of one dysfunctional family's experiences is outstanding.I was completely absorbed in the details of their life in the Congo during the turbulent years from 1959 to the 80s. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2000-01-27

– More About This Product –

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel

by Barbara Kingsolver

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 576 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.99 in

Published: June 23, 2005

Publisher: HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0060786507

ISBN - 13: 9780060786502

From the Publisher

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family 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. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

About the Author

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family 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. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

Editorial Reviews

“A powerful new epic . . . She has with infinitely steady hands worked the prickly threads of religion, politics, race, sin and redemption into a thing of terrible beauty.” (Los Angeles Times Book Review)