NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!

Lezlie



Sunday, March 22, 2009

THE POISONWOOD BIBLE

by Barbara Kingsolver



"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 all 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." (From the CD container)

I really liked this book. The telling of the story from multiple perspectives is almost always a technique I enjoy, and it is done wonderfully here. Each took away very different lessons from her experiences in Africa, and I loved being able to see close-up how each was changed as those experiences were interpreted and reinterpreted as time passed.

I found one of the most memorable scenes to be when Nathan is arguing Biblical translation and interpretation with the former missionary of the village, Brother Fowles. Not only was it interesting in light of my recent reading of Misquoting Jesus, but the way Brother Fowles was able to relate Bible passages to native spiritual beliefs of the Congolese was breathtaking. It gave me a unique and beautiful perspective to consider next time I am reading it.

Like Dances with Wolves, this was one of those book that made me want to scrub the white from my skin so I didn't have to associate myself with the people and politics of Western culture that participate in the exploitation that so devastates other countries and cultures. I love the way of life I am blessed to be able to live in America, but does that mean it's the way everyone should live? Just because I like it doesn't make it a good idea.



30 comments:

Marg said...

I was really moved when I read this book back in my pre-blogging days!

JoAnn said...

I really liked this, too, when I read it with my book club...and recall that it was a great discussion. One member even said the book changed her life!
Books with multiple narrators or points-of-view almost always appeal to me.

Jeane said...

I loved this book. It's so rich, and moving and complex. It's one of my very favorites.

bermudaonion said...

Great review. This book really made really reflect on a lot of things too.

Dar said...

Nice review Lezlie. I read this years ago and it's one of my favorites. It's really time for a reread. I've got a few others of hers that I want to read too. Glad you liked it.

charley said...

I didn't have luck with The Bean Trees, but this one sounds good.

Lezlie said...

Marg ~ I can't believe it took me this long to get to it!

JoAnn ~ I can see why this is a great book club book. It's hard not to talk about, even to people who haven't read it. :-)

Jeane ~ With a litte time to digest it, I think it will make my "all-time" list also.

Bermudaonion ~ It made me so angry while I was reading. I know there are a lot of good people out there, but the bad ones cause so much damage in the world that we may not ever be able to fix it.

Dar ~ I looked at some of her other books when I finished this, but none of the descriptions struck a chord. Let me know if any others you get to are particularly good!

Charley ~ Definitely give this one a try. It's amazing.

Lezlie

Terri said...

I loved this book when I read it years ago. It's one on my TBRR list.

Your last paragraph is very moving, and I have often felt the same way. I have many opinions on immigration that have to do with US exploitation of other countries.

Glad you liked this book.

Amy said...

This is a challenge book for me this year....I really want to get to it after reading your review and all these great comments!

Ladytink_534 said...

I've heard good and bad things about this one. One blogger recently put it on her "most hated book" list! I owned it for a while but gave it to either my aunt or my mom, can't remember.

Jo-Jo said...

I'm glad to know that you liked this one Lezlie. I've been holding off on reading this one as I've heard both good and bad reviews of it. I may have to bump it up on the list though.

Lezlie said...

Terri ~ Thank you! I come from a very conservative family that is very bothered by my feeling that way. I don't see how someone can look at some of the things that are done and not want to scream in outrage.

Amy ~ I can't wait to see what you think of it!

Ladytink & Jo-Jo ~ I never looked at any reviews of it, so I haven't seen what the bad reviews have to say. I'm curious what it is they didn't like about it, if it was the writing or the messages that are conveyed.

Lezlie

Literary Feline said...

Great review, Lezlie! I started reading this one a few years ago but ended up setting it aside because it just wasn't the right time. I do want to return to it one day. It sounds like something I would really like--just at the right time.

J.C. Montgomery said...

I feel now that I've had this on my TBR shelf much too long. Especially after reading this.

Thanks for a great review Lezlie!

Lezlie said...

Literary Feline ~ No matter how good a book is, it can always fall victim to the wrong time. I hope you enjoy it when you have a chance to get back to it!

J.C. ~ I had never given any real thought to reading it, and picked it up on a whim to listen to on my commute. I bet you'll like it as much I did.

Lezlie

Teddy Rose said...

Oh Lezlie, this is one of my all time favorite books! I hope to read it again some day.

I never read 'Dances with Wolves' but I liked the movie. I adde3d it to my TBR. Thanks!

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ After reading Dances With Wolves, I will never, ever watch the movie. I was emotionally wrecked for days!

Lezlie

Serena said...

I often hear great things about this book, but I have yet to pick it up.

Lezlie said...

Serena ~ If you ever decide to read it, I'd love to know what you think of it!

Lezlie

Heather J. said...

When people ask me for a book suggestion, this is the very first book I tell them about. I've read it 2x, I got my book club to read it, and I recommend it to everyone. My mom listened to the audio version and said it was VERY well done. I'm so glad you read this one - it is definitely a keeper.

Somer said...

One of the scenes that has always stuck with me from this book is when the sister who most embraces the African culture (can't remember her name) visits America and goes into the grocery store and is so overwhelmed by the abundance. I think about that almost every time I go in the grocery store!

I haven't read anything by Barbara Kingsolver that I haven't loved. I wish she'd write another fiction book soon!

Lezlie said...

Heather ~ I can totally see reading this one again in the future.

Somer ~ Leah! Yes! That scene was great! Peter and I talked about it later, because we feel much the same way. Sometimes it's overwhelming.

Lezlie

chartroose said...

I think I'll be moving this up higher on my TBR lists!

Lezlie said...

Chartroose ~ I think you should! :-)

Lezlie

Veronica said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the read so much. Myself, i couldn't get into it. I didn't last much more than 100 pages...

Lezlie said...

Veronica ~ It took me a little while to warm up to it. It does start out a little slow.

Lezlie

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I read this book way before the blog and picked it up simply because it was an Oprah book. I hate it when people say they won't read Oprah books simply because they are Oprah books. As if that's a bad thing. I really liked it!

Lezlie said...

Natasha ~ Oprah has chosen some really interesting reads for her club. I found myself paying more attention to her after she chose The Road. I was shocked when I heard she had selected a Cormac McCarthy book!

Lezlie

Anna said...

I read this one last year and loved it. I couldn't put it down, and I count it among my all-time favorite books.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Lezlie said...

Anna ~ I believe after more time to think about it, it will make my list as well.

Lezlie