The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959, The Poisonwood Bible is the story of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it – from garden seeds to Scripture – is calamitously transformed on African soil.
In 1959, Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist, takes his four young daughters, his wife, and his mission to the Belgian Congo — a place, he is sure, where he can save needy souls. But the seeds they plant bloom in tragic ways within this complex culture. Set against one of the most dramatic political events of the twentieth century — the Congo’s fight for independence from Belgium and its devastating consequences — here is “New York Times-bestselling author Barbara Kingslover’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and unforgettable epic that chronicles the disintegration of family and a nation.
From Mrs Salter
I was absorbed in the book from the first page. It started off as a well meaning adventure, not realizing how naive or ill equipped they were. What makes this book so darn good is the telling, the slow unfolding shared by the women of the family. You feel like you are reading an actual account, not a novel. Great research combined with some similar childhood experiences give Barbara KIngsolver the depth to bring this story and this family to life.
I found it an uncomfortable read as an American, that one can think they can just head overseas and force our ways and beliefs on people with the assumption that we know better, our ways are better and if you don’t get with the programme there is something wrong with your culture. The father/missionary in this book is of this type, he NEVER tried to understand the people he was dealing with, never considered their ways of doing things and did not adapt his thinking or actions to the people he was trying to “save”. I realize that this has happened many times in many places, I only hope that the present day missionary has learned from these mistakes and try to work with and understand the people they go to help and that they do it because they really care, rather than because they know better.
I recommend you read this book when you are mature enough to grasp the full consequences of the story 16+, and I would insist you read it if you were embarking on a mission.