Amy Reads Books

The Poisonwood Bible (Oprah's Book Club)

The Poisonwood Bible (Oprah's Book Club) - Barbara Kingsolver 4.5 StarsThe novel tells the story of the Price family, who go on a mission to rural Congo on the eve of its independence; on the impetus of Nathan, a baptist priest. It is told primarily from the perspective of the four Price daughters; Rachel, Leah, Adah and Ruth May-but Orleanna, their mother and Nathan's wife, occasionally gets a chapter as well.I loved The Lacuna, and so was really excited to finally read this. And when I say finally, I bought this book in the autumn of 2010 as I found the receipt in the back of it. Fortunately, it was very much worth the wait. Although it is not an easy read, it is one that remains one that is incredibly important to read. Kingsolver tackles issues of colonialism, sexism and racism head on; there are sometimes times when these points are slightly hammered, but they are points that are incredibly well made. Those people who prefer to stick their heads in the sand about the West's legacy to the whole continent of Africa would be hard pressed to keep such views upon finishing this novel.One of the reasons that Kingsolver is so successful in how she deals with the issues she discusses in the novel is through her incredibly well drawn characters. As the reader gets into the head of each of the Price daughters their voices, prejudices and beliefs are incredibly well drawn; and you get to see how it is possible that they would have such feelings. For instance, Rachel is pretty much the stereotypical American southerner in her views towards the Congolese, and she seems to be the only one who is blind to the injustice and prejudices around her. I really liked Leah, who goes from viewing her father as being a beacon of hope and truth, to almost the exact opposite. I also wished that we got to hear more from Orleanna, she was a really interesting character.Whilst I didn't love this quite as much as The Lacuna, mainly because a lot of the ideas that Kingsolver presents are ones I'm already familiar with from my studies, The Poisonwood Bible is certainly one that should really be read by as many people as possible-the issues still warrant massive discussion.