The Poisonwood Bible is a book I had been wanting to read for a long time, but for some reason, I kept putting it off. It wasn’t until the wonderful Michelle offered to send a copy to me, that I was given the push I needed to finally pick it up.
The Poisonwood Bible focuses on a Baptist family who move from America to the Belgian Congo in 1959 with the aim of converting the African people to the Christian faith. The family quickly realise that life in Africa will not be as simple as they imagined. They have to learn to cope with the hardships brought on by both the wildlife and the political instability of the region.
Initially I loved the rich detail of the prose, each of the characters was beautifully crafted and life in the Congo was vividly depicted, but after a couple of hundred pages I began to become frustrated with it. I was expecting the story to take hold once the characters had been introduced, but this didn’t happen. The pace of the book remained incredibly slow, which meant that it often failed to hold my attention. There was no momentum to drive the plot forward, so the 600+ pages seemed to drag more than they should have done.
Despite this criticism it was a very good book; there were a lot of touching scenes and I loved following the family over several decades. This book contained some great messages about which things in society are important and the attitude of Nathan, the fierce minister, will promote some interesting discussions.
Recommended to anyone with the patience to read a long, slow novel.
Did you enjoy The Poisonwood Bible?
Are you looking forward to her next novel, The Lacuna, being released in November?