I had a hard time trying to figure out who was who and when they were talking. I almost set this book aside a few times. The narrator can make a marginal book great or a great book marginal. In this case, it was the latter. She read so fast and made no attempt to change dialects for the 4 different daughters that narrated the story, that it made it difficult to follow. Finally, the last 25% of the book made it worth the listen. I am sure it would have been closer to a 5 star read if the narrator was better.
I had high hopes for this listen and so far sadly disappointed. The narrator does the author an injustice. The narrator reads way too fast for me to enjoy Kingsolver's beautiful descriptions. The narrator sounds like she has been tasked to speed read through this novel. I am trying to love this novel dispite the narrator. Audible please ask the producer to find another narrator and reproduce this narration. This is the worst narration I have heard.
I haven't changed my mind since becoming an audible member: the first two books I chose, Stephen King's 11/22/63 and Ann Patchett's State of Wonder remain the best listens in an eclectic library. I have also enjoyed the heck out of 2 series; Gabaldon's Outlander and McCammon's Matthew Corbett series.
The Poisonwood Bible is high on my list of favorite books. It is a powerful story written in Kingsolver's masterful prose, told in the five unique voices of the Price Family women. Dean Robertson's natural narration is flawless.
This is not an experience to be missed.
***here I will add a request to Audible. Ms Robertson chose (wisely) to change voices with inflection and emphasis rather than a pitch change. Such sustained changes for five different characters would have dulled Ms Kingsolver's unique and natural voice for each character. I sometimes became confused as to which narration I was listening, particularly when I resumed listening. Please consider having this book redone with five different narrators, retaining Dean Robertson's mother. It won't be easy to find four more narrators as accomplished and confident enough to stay out of the way of great prose.
Other reviewers have detailed the story, so I will not, but I want to suggest to all who are considering this audiobook to pass it by and go for the written book. The narrator detracts from this amazing book. She speaks with a minimum of intonation, practically no emotion, certainly no character voices and speaks much too fast.
Although I'm suggesting you consider to go for the written book over the audiobook, how could I possibly give this book less than 5 stars. 10 stars for the literature and 2 stars for the narrator.
I couldn't get going with the printed copy of this book, but once I started listening to the audio version, I was instantly hooked. The narrator's reading with the Southern accent made the story come alive and I enjoyed listening to all 15+ hours of Barbara Kingsolver's story of Africa.
For me, this was a powerful novel, evoking memories of my own childhood growing up with two sisters and a mother who was at once somewhat powerless in her own life, and yet strong. This book brought back memories of poverty, idealism, family migration, and history taking place around me---and me oblivious to it. I was only about 10 when Patrice Lumumba was elected, and I remember that, but at 10, alas, hadn't a clue as to what was happening. This book took me back and filled in some gaps for me. I loved it! When I began to listen, I thought, why did I buy a book about a Baptist minister in the 1950's, when my genre is medieval history? But I absolutely loved it and will read it again! Highly recommended!!
Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere
Southern Baptist minister from Georgia with wife and four blonde daughters in tow head to the Congo to save souls. Agree with the author's POV and enjoy her detailed, meticulous, unassuming writing style. However, this book felt monotonous, tedious, and banal. I grasp the concept and love the hidden sarcasm, just wish she could have wrapped it up sooner. Faced with 6 more hours to go, I had to stop. Maybe I missed something important at the end, but at this point, would rather move on to more interesting books.
Not sure why this book always scores so high on lists. Maybe it's the fact someone tells the truth about how sad it is people feel the need to force their beliefs on "uncivilized" people who are perfectly content. Revelation indeed, but work more closely with your editor, Ms. Kingsolver. Also, the southern accent grated and reverberated in my ears.
I hesitated listening to the Poisonwood Bible as an audibook because I enjoy Ms Kingsolver's lyrical prose, and I didn't want to miss that experience. But as it is for most of us these days, I have less time to read than I do to listen. So when Audible introduced the new "listen and read" feature I decided to try it out on this book.
Wow. This new feature is going to change my life! Not only does it let us experience the best of both worlds - immersing ourselves in the author's writing style, re-reading particularly important or complicated passages, etc, but it also lets us experience the performance of the story, bringing the characters to life via the narration in a way they don't come to life on the page. Plus, we can get through books so much faster! I would listen on my long commute and then kick back in the evening with my Kindle, synced to the exact position where I'd left off in the book, and spend time enjoying the book. It's a truly seamless back and forth experience.
In this way I got to hear the correct pronunciation of African names and terms I am sure I would have butchered if left to my own devices. But if the audio narration got too complicated (lots of character names, etc.) I could go back and reference the book and get reoriented.
I disagree with those reviewers who did not like Ms. Robertson's narration. I thought it was spot-on - perfectly capturing the personality of each girl through her unique accent and speaking pattern. Her narration made these characters come to life for me.
I don't know whether I found the audio or the written version of the book better. It was the combination of the two formats that elevated this book to a new level.
As for the book itself, I thought it was powerful, informative, compelling, and heartbreaking. I'd say it's Ms. Kingsolver's best book - managing to give a historical account of the Congo while also capturing the heart and soul of the people. The narrative device of telling this story from the perspective of the young girls who must adapt, grow and survive in this foreign and hostile environment is genius.
Ms. Kingsolver is often criticized for having an agenda in her presentation of facts and of being preachy in her opinions. She does not avoid those characteristics in this book, but the overall story is so well told that it's easy to forgive her.
If you're looking for a book that will sweep you up and take you to places you've never dreamed of and will teach you things along the way - this is it.
I loved everything about this book. I can't believe so many have negatively reviewed the narrator. I felt as though her reading gave each sister their own personal voice. I don't know the narrator, but I'm sure she's southern as she read with the perfect, but not overboard, southern drawl.
The depth to which Kingsolver researched and made the surrounding history of the fictional story line intrigued me to look up more on the Congo, and one day I hope to see and smell Africa. I felt a connection to all of the characters. I laughed, I cried, and when I listened to it the second time because I loved it so much, I laughed and cried again even though I knew what was going to happen. This book is outstanding!
I have only listened to the audio version, but the narration is good enough that I believe it would add to the experience.
As my headline says, I really got sucked into this story. The characters were all complex and easy to know, and although it's not exactly a happy story, I appreciate that it had a well-resolved ending.
Ruth. I always looked forward to the chapters told in her voice. The reader portrayed her innocence very well, and I felt like she was talking to me through my headphones.
Oh, I wouldn't dare rename it.
This is one of the best audiobooks I've downloaded so far, and the first book in a long time that I wanted to "read" again right after finishing it.