The Poisonwood Bible is an important book, one that is probably good for everyone to read and think about it. The book follows the story of the Price family. The father, Nathan, is a Baptist preacher whose gotten it in to his head to save the souls of the entirety of Africa with just his bare hands, and he’s taken his family, a wife and four daughters, with him. The book is narrated by the four daughters, with little section prologues narrated by their mother from a distant time in the future. The book is long, but not a page of it is wasted. Kingsolver uses those pages to show us the human arrogance of not just the Price family, but the ways humans can change, or not change, over time. The Congolese setting is key, as it’s set during the time of transition from corrupt Belgian rule to the early days of independence. In many ways, the journey of the Price family mirrors what is going on in the country as a whole.
I wish I would have read this book when I was in the mood for it, but it’s not a fun book, or a pleasant book. There are rare moments of levity, but mostly this a quiet, long, contemplative book that requires thought and patience, and is not here to “entertain.” Having to put up with the figure of Nathan Price for hundreds of pages felt like hard work. I probably should have scheduled out time to read it at a slower pace, instead of cramming it into two days.
Maybe I’ll try again some other time.
Read Harder Challenge 2018: An Oprah book club selection.