Docket Page 1 – The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

CHARGE (What was the author trying to say?): Kingsolver wrote the Poisonwood Bible as “a study of this persistent human flaw – arrogance masquerading as helpfulness.”

FACTS: This book is filled with beautiful prose telling a less-than-beautiful story. A flawed missionary carries a flawed gospel to the Congo. Souls fail to be won and lives are lost. Out of a destroyed nuclear family bloom next-generation family groups intertwined with the future of the Congo. The survivors all manage to find ways to fill up the hole ripped open by their African adventure. “You can’t just sashay into the jungle aiming to change it all over to the Christian style without expecting the jungle to change you right back.”

VERDICT (Was the author successful?): Guilty, as charged. While it is easy to get lost in the beautiful wordiness of this book, it’s agenda is to condemn colonialism and proselytism. Many times the message gets lost in the deluge of words. Not an easy read, but worth the effort for the beauty of the language.

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