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All booksLiterary fictionThe Poisonwood Bible
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Literary fiction

The Poisonwood Bible

by Barbara Kingsolver

Quick take

Kingsolver’s masterpiece, a modern classic first published in 1998, is epic in scope and size.

Why I love it

Book of the Month

Maybe it’s her credential as a biologist that gives author Barbara Kingsolver a thrillingly unique perspective into the natural worlds her characters live in, even as she creates lively worlds in the interiors of their minds. Set in the Belgian Congo beginning in 1959, The Poisonwood Bible is Kingsolver’s masterpiece, a modern classic first published in 1998, epic in scope and size. It’s the story of a family of American Christian missionaries, a mother and four daughters led by a domineering father, who travel to preach the word of God to the Congolese natives. Once there, their preconceived notions are challenged, and their ideologies shatter, even as they learn of the darkness and beauty that exists outside of their prayer books.

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Member thoughts

All (909)
All (909)
Love (608)
Like (230)
Dislike (71)
930 ratings
  • 65% Love
  • 25% Like
  • 8% Dislike
  • Aurora, CO

    Superb book. It addresses so many issues- race, class, money, politics, religion, history... All of which are portrayed as not merely esoteric ideas but as core components of one’s life experiences.

  • Birmingham, AL

    Right now I consider this to be the best book I ever read. Eyeopening history, characters so real I want to visit them, heart wrenching story. Fabulous writing style. Thought and feeling provoking.

  • Missoula, MT

    I loved the way the author wrote in the perspective of the different sisters and Mom. I learned about the politics of Africa that I had no idea happened. The book made me NOT want to visit Africa.

  • Brooklyn, NY

    I LOVED this book. I had meant to read it for ages, so when I saw it out of the BOTM vault, I had to order it. So glad I did. Just pure magic. Such a beautiful story of love, discovery, and faith.

  • Marriottsville, MD

    I really enjoyed this read! I had to read it about a year ago for my English class and ended up really getting into the novel, so much so that I wanted to own it just to read again! I highly suggest!

  • Houston, TX

    Complex,subtle,thought provoking, startling, real. Told in 5 voices, this family's story is a reflection of all families in some way, yet it is uniquely different. Unlike anything I've read before.

  • Florence, KY

    One of my favorite authors since middle school. At face value she is an amazing storyteller but it's the deeper undercurrent of social and philosophical commentary that sets her stories apart.

  • Fort Smith, AR

    This. Was. Fascinating! I couldn't read it fast enough. Great character development. Enjoyed the strength of women in so many different ways. This book is older but I'd highly recommend it!

  • Rochester, MN

    10/10 This book has everthing! I am beyond impressed with Barbara Kingsolver and her literary abilities. I particularly loved the subtle sarcasm she laced throughout this sweeping novel.

  • Bozeman, MT

    I loved this book! Unforgettable characters and a riveting story set in a time and place I knew little about. Thanks, BOMC, for republishing this beautifully written, remarkable book.

  • Woodland, CA

    Bought this to replace my first copy as my daughter read it and highlighted half the book for school. One of my favorite authors and a great look into organized religion snd families

  • New Britain, CT

    I liked reading the different POVs. It's interesting how everyone's life was different. It also made me think more about Africa from a historical perspective. Couldn't put it down!

  • San Jose, CA

    One of my favorite books I've ever read; I was hooked from the first page. Kingsolver's descriptions are so vivid and the plot & characters so rich that it was worth the 500+ pages

  • Troy, IL

    Powerful story of a missionary and his family who travel to the Congo at a time of great political unrest. Unique characters are revealed through their perspectives of events.

  • Chesterfield, VA

    Such a good book about a missionary family in Africa. Humorous, heartbreaking, and insightful are all adjectives I would use to describe it. Can't recommend it highly enough!

  • Moses Lake, WA

    The Poisonwood Bible may not be for everyone, as it is, at times slow... but I loved the book. I was fascinated by the twins & how Africa itself seemed to be a character.

  • Nashville, TN

    I read this for the first time in my freshman year of high school. It's one of my all time favorite books! I love it and need to sit down and read it again sometime soon.

  • Chester, NH

    This author is brilliant. I just loved this so much. Never felt slow or boring, and at times it was laugh out loud funny! I will be reading more of her books, for sure.

  • Eden, NY

    Fantastic read. By far one of my favorite books. Highly recommend to all readers. It definitely makes you consider what an impact perspective can have on your life.

  • Boring, OR

    This is my favorite book of all times. It is an amazing story told so perfectly you feel like you are standing next to the characters. I could not recommend it more.

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