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The Poisonwood Bible | [Barbara Kingsolver]

The Poisonwood Bible

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

This tale of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction, over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa, is set against history's most dramatic political parables.

The Poisonwood Bible dances between the darkly comic human failings and inspiring poetic justices of our times. In a compelling exploration of religion, conscience, imperialist arrogance, and the many paths to redemption, Barbara Kingsolver has brought forth her most ambitious work ever.

©2004 Barbara Kingsolver; (P)2004 Brilliance Audio

What the Critics Say

"Haunting..A novel of character, a narrative shaped by keen-eyed women." (New York Times Book Review)
"The book's sheer enjoyability is given depth by Kingsolver's insight and compassion for Congo, including its people, and their language and sayings." (Boston Globe)
"Beautifully written....Kingsolver's tale of domestic tragedy is more than just a well-told yarn.. Played out against the bloody backdrop of political struggles in Congo that continue to this day, it is also particularly timely." (People)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (3014 )
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4.4 (1848 )
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4.3 (1833 )
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  •  
    B. zhang Somewhere, CA 02-12-09
    B. zhang Somewhere, CA 02-12-09 Member Since 2006

    Marble Book

    HELPFUL VOTES
    72
    ratings
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    35
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    5
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    Overall
    "Good story, boring monotone voice"

    The story is totally worth 5 stars. However, the monotone voice is so boring. You cannot tell if it was the mother, the little 5-year old girl or the teenage daughter who's telling the story. They all sound the same as the mother (I couldn't bear that those daughters sound like middle-aged women). Like other reviewers mentioned, I was easily distracted from the story because of the boring monotone. The narrator was totally not into the story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 02-10-09
    Angie Kansas City, MO, United States 02-10-09 Member Since 2005

    Immigration lawyer in Kansas City. I like Character driven dramas, fantasy (monsters, magic and witches oh my!) and coming of age stories. Favs include: The Book Thief, The Game of Throne series, Harry Potter Series, Dresden Files, Nightside series, anything by Neil Gaimen, 100 Years of Solitude.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    354
    ratings
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    3
    Overall
    "Excellent"

    This was a very compelling story of a family of missionaries that go to the Congo in the early 60's right before everything in the COngo errupts into violence and choas. The father, a hell and brimstone, my way or the high way type of man is unswerving in his dedication to save the souls of the Africans in his village. I really enjoyed the narrator and the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Kovler 01-25-09
    J. Kovler 01-25-09 Member Since 2007

    LK

    HELPFUL VOTES
    117
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    "Compelling"

    This is a compelling, multi-layered novel. It tells the story of Nathan Price, a bigoted Baptist minister who takes his wife and four daughters away from the comfort of their American home to the diseased and famine ridden Congo. This move eventually leads to tragedy and to the break-up of the family. Although sad in parts it's not a heavy listen - it's hard to put down as it's written with great humor, particularly the passages relating to the eldest daughter Rachel. Be warned - the narrator had a Southern drawl that I found pretty hard to get used to even though it was appropriate for the content - but I'm from the UK so maybe if you're "born in the USA" you'll find that easier.
    My only criticism is that the author spent far too long expounding her political views in the last quarter of the book. Those views of the ignorance of imperialism speak for themselves through the story and I don't think she need to elaborate on them. Aside from that, well worth the read, thought provoking and interesting from the historical perspective.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James H. Bauman Rockford, Michigan 01-21-09
    James H. Bauman Rockford, Michigan 01-21-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
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    0
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    Overall
    "Good story-poor reader"

    Great story-but poor narrator. If she (the reader would slow down by about 5 or 10% and try to use a slight different tone of voice for the different characters I think it would improve the listening experience 100%. I had to force myself to pay attention-the monotone put me into a trance so often I needed to go back and re-listen after I realized I had drifted away from the story.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Bradenton, Florida, United States 01-15-09
    Andy Bradenton, Florida, United States 01-15-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    814
    13
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    1
    7
    Overall
    "This should be required listening"

    Entertaining, enlightening and inspirational.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Shepherd, MT, USA 01-15-09
    Sarah Shepherd, MT, USA 01-15-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
    ratings
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    114
    4
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    Overall
    "Excellent"

    I really enjoyed this book, the way it was written and the story. The story itself is a sad one, but captivating all the same. And the manner in which its told, each character taking turns sharing the events from their perspective, was interesting. I also enjoyed the narration. She did a great job, and her southern accent lent itself to the characters perfectly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cleo Dee 12-26-08
    Cleo Dee 12-26-08
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    Overall
    "Great Audiobook!"

    This book is fantastic! The reader's Southern accent captures the feel and sound of Africa as experienced by this missionary family from Georgia. The book is worth reading!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael kansas city, MO, United States 08-25-08
    Michael kansas city, MO, United States 08-25-08

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
    ratings
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    Overall
    "Excellent."

    absolutely excellent.. the struggle and growth of this family was nothing like you would imagine in real life. character development was very detailed. the dialouge was captavating the quote "the review mirror is 20/20" priceless. top ten in my opionon. never read it? then read it.. apprectiation for your fancy cars and homes will be lost..

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 02-20-09
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 02-20-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    105
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    5
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    "Boring"

    At first I thought that the reading was part of a larger plot to draw me in to some crazy story, but no, the narrator just used the same voice for every character with no break in between just because she wanted to I guess. It was very hard to get into and then hard to enjoy. Even with her odd reading, I still would only have given this 3 stars because it felt like propaganda to me. --organized religion is all fanatical and we all should walk after the god of our own making. Whatever. That is a sad commentary on its own. --America is the big bad wasteful country and the pursuit of wealth is a sin in itself. There you have it. All summed up in one short paragraph.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kerri phillips 08-29-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "History...Her Story"

    This is a great example of historical fiction. Entertaining and educating the reader. I learned about a time and place that I had never even wondered about before.

    This book makes me want to join a book club so I can further explore some of the themes. I came away from it wanting to pick a fight with the author over the "treatment" of the female characters. For a book that focused on the lives, thoughts, and dreams of five females, it seems to lack in "girl power." Perhaps this is intentional.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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