The Poisonwood Bible Book Review: A Thought-Provoking Tale of a Missionary Family’s Tragedy

The Poisonwood Bible is a thought-provoking tale of a missionary family’s tragedy. It was written by Barbara Kingsolver and published in 1998. This book follows the lives of two sisters, Ruth and Leah Bachmann, who are sent to Africa by their mother when they were children. Their experiences during their time there are told from Ruth’s point of view as an adult and her younger sister Leah’s childhood memories are woven into the narrative as well.

The title and setting of the book

The book takes place in Africa, and it was written in 1998. In the title, you’ll find a reference to the Bible: “The Poisonwood Bible.” The author, Barbara Kingsolver, wanted to use this name because she felt it would help readers understand why she chose to write about an American missionary family who had moved from America to Congo. She wanted them to understand what they were doing there and why they were doing it—and how their lives changed after arriving at their destination.

In addition to being a good title for any type of story (even if you don’t know anything about poisonwood trees), I think this one is especially fitting for this novel because it reminds us that there’s always more than meets our eyes when we look at something beautiful or significant enough for us as humans (and especially Christians).

The main characters

The main characters are the missionaries. They are a family of five: the father, mother and four daughters. The eldest daughter is named Leah, who is married to Joseph Kainda. He has two children from his first wife who died in childbirth during World War II according to the book’s timeline (1956).

Leah’s younger sister-in-law Esther is also married to Joseph Kainda but does not have any children yet because she only gave birth at age 35 after her husband had been dead for three years

The plot summary

The story is about a missionary family in the Congo. The father, Nathan, and mother, Orleanna Kambale, have five daughters: Rachel (the oldest), Leah (the second oldest), Adah (the middle daughter), Ruth May (the youngest), and Baby Katy who was born during their mission trip to Africa.

The plot begins when Nathan has another wife named Anna who lives with him on an island off the coast of Cameroon where he runs a hotel called “The Yellow House” for tourists who come from all over Europe to visit this place because it’s so beautiful here! But then one day Anna dies suddenly after giving birth to her baby girl—Baby Christina—who turns out not only beautiful but also very smart like her mother would be if she lived longer instead of dying suddenly like that haha.”

My thoughts on the book

The book is a good read and the characters are well-developed. The story is interesting, especially because it’s based on real events that happened in a village called Poisonwood, which was under attack by soldiers during World War II.

The author uses words that make you think of what they mean and how they’re used in sentences or paragraphs (for example, “this book will help you understand why God had allowed this tragedy”). This helps you understand the ideas behind each sentence while reading it—and once you get through them all then there’s still another level of comprehension waiting for you!

I liked reading the Poisonwood Bible!

I liked reading the Poisonwood Bible! It was well-written, with interesting characters and a compelling plot. The story follows a missionary family in Africa who must adapt to circumstances beyond their control.

The book has been called “a classic of African literature” because it explores themes of colonialism and war as well as marriage, parenthood and what it means to be human.


The Poisonwood Bible is a great book that I would recommend to anyone who wants a thought-provoking read. It has many layers of meaning and can be used for all ages, from teens to adults. The plot takes place in Africa where missionaries are struggling against war and poverty for their people, but also about forgiveness, family love and loyalty



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