The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Type: fiction

Page Count: 546

Received by: bought at Fully Booked

Started reading: 22* January 2013

Finished reading: 16 February 2013

Interest level: 8 – You wouldn’t think it, considering how long it took me to read it. But I really enjoyed this book. Barbara Kingsolver literally changed my life with ‘Animal, Vegetable, Miracle’ a few years ago, so I’ve wanted to check out her fiction.

Recommendation level: 8 – It’s a bit dense with politics and U.S./Africa history and religion, but if you’re into those things (as I am), you’re going to love it (ahem, Ashley). The characters are so full and rounded. Parts of this book spoke to so many different parts of me: to my expatriatism, to the humanitarian in me, to the defeatist in me, to the part of me that hates my country and every thing it’s done to ruin the lives and livelihoods of whole countries and generations of people within them, the part of me that doesn’t fit in anymore, the part of me that loves to explore, the part of me that loves justice, and the part of me that hates condescending bible bashers.

TTBR Synopsis: A fierce and fanatical pastor brings his family to the jungles of the Congo in 1959 in order to save and reform. Hubris.

Some favorite passages:

“I am telling you what I’m telling you. don’t try to make life a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and everything coming out equal. When you are good, bad things can still happen. And if you are bad, you can still be lucky.” (309)

Hunger of the body is altogether different from the shallow, daily hunger of the belly. Those who have known this kind of hunger cannot entirely love, ever again, those who have not. (345)

I can think of no honorable answer. Why must some of us deliberate between brands of toothpaste, while others deliberate between damp dirt and bone dust to quiet the fire of an empty stomach lining? There is nothing about the United States I can really explain to this child of another world. (441)

It’s a funny thing to complain about, but most of America is perfectly devoid of smells. (468)