without a definite route

the poisonwood bible

on October 25, 2011

“we came, we saw, we took away and we left behind, we must be allowed our anguish and regrets.”     ~ adah price

i’d like to say unequivocably that i liked the poisonwood bible, but i can’t. and i don’t exactly know why.

i enjoy authors who write with a healthy dose of Language and Poetry – or, to be more exact, language as poetry. i found the 5 different voices that barbara kingsolver created to tell her story to be a wonderful device, giving insight that a more traditional narrator couldn’t have. some of the points of view – especially adah’s – contained exciting verbal gymnastics that blew me away. and i absolutely love a good malapropism – especially when used both for humor and illumination.

but, even though i greatly enjoyed the words, i lacked a deeper attachment to the characters which created a distance from the narrative. i wanted to care so much more than i actually did. i wanted to feel – really feel – shock, fear, confusion, sadness and joy when the characters experienced it, but i just didn’t. that’s not to say that they weren’t fully realized, authentic, fascinating and believable. they were.  i just wasn’t touched by them and their stories in the way that i know i should have been.

i don’t remember ever working so hard to like something. or trying to figure out what is holding me from it. all of the elements that go into my favorite books – interesting and well-developed characters, creative storytelling, a sense of place and time, language as poetry – are there. and yet. my reading experience lacked an emotional resonance. i haven’t found myself, as i often do after reading a great book, thinking about the characters/story and Feeling Something. i can’t put my finger on why.


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