This is a slightly modified version of the review I posted for this book on my own blog: A bunch of people in my Around the World group were all reading The Poisonwood Bible together this week. As anyone who read about me being stuck in Australia already knows, I used this book as a reward for getting through Voss, and really enjoyed my reward. In the time I was reading it, I drove from Philly to Atlanta with a preschooler and a bulldog in tow. Now that I'm here, I'm helping out a friend with severe vertigo and a sheltie on chemo (who eats homemade food that is a little tricky to dish out, never mind make, when the world is spinning), so it's not exactly a great reading week. The preschooler had 5 vaccinations the other day, and is either sick in relation to that or independent of it, but that is probably the only reason I have actually already finished this book. She's sleeping much more than usual.
I loved the book. I read a lot of Kingsolver in the 90s and really enjoyed her work, but hadn't read anything she had written since. This was wonderful to read from page one, with chapters alternating between distinctive voices of 4 daughters and their mom narrating the experience of being dropped into the wilderness of the Belgian Congo of 1960 by a missionary patriarch with survivor guilt from his experience in the military in the South Pacific. You will grieve over what the "first world" has done to Africa and what one man's ego has done to his family as you follow the maturation of the women in this tale. Below is my Goodreads review.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I loved this book and the different voices of the women in this missionary family whose lives are variously transformed by their time in the Belgian Congo. Tragic naivete is replaced by different types and levels of insight in the 5 women. Kingsolver clearly loves the country and its people.