Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Club Review – “The Poisonwood Bible”

I am part of a book club that meets once a month with a group of friends from my church. We started this book club back in the spring, around April, I think. We have met once a month since then to discuss a book and to just fellowship and talk and have fun! I have really enjoyed being a part of this book club -- it gives me a night out with "the girls!"

For October's book club meeting, we read "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver.

This book takes place in the 1960's as a family from Georgia (father, mother, and four daughters) go to the Congo as missionaries. The father is a "fire-and-brimstone" southern preacher who goes to Africa expecting to rescue the heathens from themselves. Of course this family has no idea what to expect from the African culture, and the things they experience will shape each of their lives in various ways. The story is told in the first chapter from the perspective of the mother and then in the subsequent chapters by each of the four daughters in turn.

Overall, I thought this book was very informative of the life and culture of Africa. It was eye-opening in a lot of respects based on what I thought I knew about Africa. I also enjoyed reading the book from the perspectives of the daughters. Each daughter had such a distinctive voice that it kept the book alive for me.

This book was also very heart-wrenching, and at times even depressing. Of course, you might think this would be the case in a story about a land that has endured such political hardship, but I thought the depressing feeling came more from the actions of the missionary family rather than from the African culture. The father was so determined to baptize the Africans that he neglected meeting the people where they were. There was no compassion in his manner of showing Jesus to them.

I think this describes the feeling of most of the book club members, too, although I won't speak for them! Most thought the book was pretty good and very interesting as far as the history and culture of the Congo. It was also thought that it was pretty depressing and without hope or true faith.

I am rating "The Poisonwood Bible" Three Bookworms.

Stayed tuned next month for the Book Club choice for November:  "Christmas Jars" by Jason F. Wright.

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