Last week I mentioned that I was finishing up reading The Poisonwood Bible and while I love it, I just don't know if I could write about it here. At almost 550 pages, there is a lot that goes on in this book and to put it bluntly, I don't feel as if my book reviewing skills are up to the challenge. But there is so much about the book that I would like to talk about, and some of you expressed some interest in "talking" about it with me. So I thought it might be fun to discuss it as if we were at a book club meeting. Here's how it's going to work:
I'll start the discussion out with a few questions or topics for conversation. These may be my own opinions or questions, or they may be taken from somewhere else, in which case I'll specifically note where I got it from. When you comment, you can choose to either address one of those topics/questions, or just go off on a complete tangent of your own and say whatever you want pertaining to the book. Did you love it? Hate it? Read one chapter and give up? Have no interest in reading it at all? Whatever the case may be, I want to know why. As the conversation progresses, as I'm hoping it does, I would love it if you would check back within the following days, possibly commenting again addressing someone else's opinion. You know, like a conversation at a book club meeting.
If you haven't read The Poisonwood Bible and may want to, keep in mind that there is a distinct possibility that certain details about the book will be revealed within our discussion. So proceed with caution. Also, as you know I welcome dissenting opinions. In fact, I love them, but lets keep it nice. I think that this book in particular has the potential to cause a political discussion, which I'm fine with, but let's just be respectful. If this goes well, as I'm hoping it does, maybe we'll do it again sometime. (Am I putting too much pressure on you people?)
Let the fun begin!
*Did you enjoy this book? Why or why not?
*When I was reading reviews of this book on Goodreads, a lot of the readers who hated the book felt that Kingsolver had a political agenda that she was trying to push, particularly her views on Americas involvement in the Congo, or they felt as if she was being anti-Christian. While I understand these opinions, I just don't feel the same way. Possibly I'm naive, or maybe it's because I have some of the same beliefs as Kingsolver, but whatever the case, no political or religious message really jumped out at me. Obviously the book is very political, but when reading it, I focused mainly on the family members and how their relationships disintegrated over time. What are your thoughts? Do you feel that Barabara Kingsolver "manipulated her characters" to further her own beliefs?
*Ruth May, the youngest daughter in the Price family, dies by a snake bite. This event seems to be the final straw for the mother (Orleana) and it motivates her to get her daughters out of the village. Personally, I felt so many emotions when Ruth May died because she reminded me so much of my own daughter. I was angry at Orleana for not putting her foot down sooner and protecting her daughters. I hated the father (Nathan Price) even more than before for maintaining his (as I see it) foolish belief that this was all god's plan. Who, if anyone, do you blame for the death of Ruth May?
*To go along with the previous question, How much do you blame Orleana for everything that went on in the Congo? Do you believe that considering the time in history the book took place, and her own personal circumstances, that she did everything in her power and that she, like her daughters, was a victim? How would you have handled things differently?
*Leah ends up marrying Anatole, a school teacher from the village, and they have children. They spend some time in America only to return to Africa because America just doesn't feel like home to them and they feel out of place. Once in Africa, they deal with inadequate health care, food is at times scarce, and Anatole is unjustly prisoned, yet they stay. I thought that Leah was one of the more complex and likable characters, but I felt her decision to return to Africa was a huge mistake and a very selfish move. I believe that, even though her motives were different, this decision was not unlike the one her father made when he moved his family to the Congo. Any thoughts on this?
*Why do you suppose that Reverend Nathan Price is not given a voice of his own? Do we learn from his wife and daughters enough information to formulate an adequate explanation for his beliefs and behavior? Does such an explanation matter? (Question courtesy of Book Browse Reading Guide.)