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Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader

I didn't always read, but that changed in June of 2013. I dropped the unnecessary stuff and picked up the awesome stuff--like reading! I started posting my reviews on Amazon and within a few months rose to the top 0.1% of reviewers. My reviews then went to Goodreads, and now my blog (http://ryandejonghe.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Ryan_Reads). If you are reading this, why not leave a comment or send me a note? I love talking to other folks about books and my reviews. Publishers and authors, feel free to drop me a note if you want me to review your book. I usually stick to mainstream publishing, but I'll consider anything. If I review your book, I’ll give you a fair and thorough review and let you know when the review goes live. You can reach me at dejonghes@gmail.com. Happy Reading!

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver Some schools have updated their reading lists, dropping certain Literary Classics and replacing them with books such as this—and with good reason. The Poisonwood Bible stands as Barbara Kingsolver’s Magnus Opus; her writing is evidence of unfettered brilliance, sheer determination, and her unequivocal way of sharing a story.

Many reviewers have tried to summarize Kingsolver’s work, but everything can be brought down to the same sentence found upon the back of the book: “While my husband’s intentions crystallized as rock salt, and while I preoccupied myself with private survival, the Congo breathed behind the curtain of forest, preparing to roll over us like a river.”

This fictionalized tale is told from the perspective of a mother and her four children, as they follow their obstinate husband and father into the central cavity of the African Congo. A layer of flesh is removed with each chapter, as the changing perspective moves the reader closer to the heart of pain, suffering, and survival. The mother’s verse is followed by her daughters’ chorus.

To keep each perspective unique, the author made some interesting stylistic decisions—most awed me, but some confused me. My favorite perspective was the mother, who was poetic in her vivid imagery. However, one of her daughters was seen as vain, who would misspell words and confuse idioms, which I imagine was an editorial conundrum. And while not my favorite perspective to read, I was quite impressed by the author’s ability to channel endless palindromes through one of the four girls.

I would go so far as to say, you cannot read this book without feeling a connection with the characters, the Congo, and the world-at-large. Your perspective of the world around you will change when you adorn yourself with Poisonwood-colored glasses. I find this true as I look around at the American Culture around me and my own religion. With that said, this is not an easy read; your feelings will be touched, and you may even shed some tears, but the journey is well worth the taking.