The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver


Pages: 614

Published: 1998

Challenges: Whitcoulls; Support your local library challenge


This is one of those books that I have heard about but for some reason have always passed by when choosing something to read – I have no idea why and have definitely been missing out – it is amazing.

I think this is my new favourite book ever. Thinking about it, the books that I really love are usually those that challenge the way we think about life or make me want to take off to some far away place – which is how it was with this story – it slowly draws you in.

In 1959, Nathan Price a staunch Baptist preacher takes his family on a 12 month mission to The Belgian Congo. Individually and as a family, their lives will never be the same. Seen through the eyes of his wife and four daughters, this is their story, spanning nearly 30 years.

While their father sets to spread the word and save as many souls as possible no matter what, the girls set about the daily tasks of finding enough food and managing to survive. With the dawn of 1960 comes increased unrest and conflict as the country heads towards independance.

The Congo is beautiful yet treacherous and increasingly becomes a place that is difficult to leave. This is true for each of the family in their own way.

Nathan Price is a man seeking his own redemption. He is unwilling or unable to consider the happiness or safety of his family or the community he is ministering to. There are two sides to every story and we don’t get to hear his. I can’t help thinking though that he wouldn’t have taken up any offer to tell it. In his eyes any hardship is a necessary sacrifice.

Of alll the characters, it is Leah who I suppose is the heroine of the story, but it is the quiet Adah and their mother Orleanna who touched me the most. Adah’s experience of a particular night involving ants was quite heartbreaking.

I don’t think it’s possible to do this book justice in a review, certainly not in my review anyway. I would simply recommend that it be read.

For further reading this is an inspiring list


2 responses to “The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

  1. I loved this book and also rank it among my all-time favorites. There were just so many layers to this book, so many interesting characters, so many themes. It really is an amazing read.


  2. Isn’t it an amazing read Anna? I’m going to buy a copy as I didn’t want to return it to the library! Thanks for stopping by, you are the first person to leave me a comment 0:)

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