Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent But Too Long, October 2, 2000
This review is from: The Poisonwood Bible (Oprah's Book Club) (Paperback)
Barbara Kingsolver is a brilliant writer, no question, and "The Poisonwood Bible" is her crowning achievment to date, although it goes on a bit too long for its own good. Kingsolver deftly alternates among five points of view: the wife and four daughters of an over-zealous, fanatical minister who find themselves dragged to the Belgian Congo as it teeters on the brink of war. Their voices are distinct and their experiences paint a panorama of dramas played out in a foreign world where their pasts have not prepared them for what's to come. The book is at its best during the first three quarters of the story as a terrible tragedy serves as the last straw for mother and daughters. Its during the book's final chapters that it loses steam. The girls grow up and the mother finds a new life back in the U.S., abandoning father and husband to the jungle he's determined to drag into the light of Christianity. Suddenly this engaging novel becomes a politcal manifesto of sorts, and it's quite obvious Kingsolver is using her characters as mouthpieces for her strong yet very valid personal views. I found it hard to believe these girls would grow into these women. Still, the final chapter is poetic and brilliantly written. This is well worth a read, even the political passages which are beautifully written. "The Poisonwood Bible" is an important book, and Kingsolver a great author.
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