Reading has always been one of my interests. If it’s Harry Potter, that is! I have grown up reading many books and loving them, but as high school started, I lost track of reading for pleasure and got more into school work, sports, and my cellphone. I re-read a lot of the same books (i.e. Harry Potter) because they brought me a sense of comfort and convinced me that I was “still reading”. Being in AP Lang has helped me find new books to read and force me to go outside my comfort zone. I have really gotten into reading again and love the books I have chosen. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver was recommended to me by my mom, as it is one of her all-time favorite books. I really got into the story and couldn’t put it down.
The story is set on the Price’s, a Christian family from Georgia about to embark on a mission trip to Congo, Africa for a year and save the people of Africa through faith. The story is told by the mother of the family, Orleanna, and her four daughters as they experience their trip together, along with their father, Nathan. All of the girls are vastly different in personality as well as their desire to be on the trip. Rachel, the oldest at 15, is the typical beauty queen. Leah, 14, is very devoted to her faith and is eager to learn on the trip. Adah, Leah’s twin, was crippled and mute at birth. She is very bright and enjoys observing everything and everyone around her. Ruth May, the youngest at 5, is nervous and cautious for the trip.
Event after event, the women change their views on being there and the trip slowly turns into a mistake. Their faith ends up on the rocks and everything they have ever known is turned upside down. Through every dangerous situation, their father forces them to stay in Congo and fulfill their duties as devoted Christians. After a political uprising that causes Belgium to grant Congo independence and a new ruler to take power, things take a turn for the worse. Everyone is to be evacuated from the island but Nathan refuses his family to board the plane. This only creates more tension between the family members. Orleanna gains a new voice against Nathan and the girls learn how to fend for themselves, with the help of other people. After letting a friend spend the night, the come across a large snake in the forest and just as they are about to get away, the snake bites Ruth May on the shoulder and she dies instantly.
Orleanna takes action after Ruth May’s death and leads her children out of the Congo. They all begin to make their own decisions as Leah decides to stay with the man she has fallen in love with and Rachel goes on to have three different marriages. Adah goes to medical school and becomes a successful scientist and Orleanna lives the rest of her life wrapped in her own guilt over Ruth May’s death. The end of the book is told by the spirit of Ruth May as she grants her mother the forgiveness she has waited her whole life for.
Anna Mikkelsen is an eleventh grader at Novi High School. She enjoys cheerleading, volunteering, friends and family. She hopes to one day be a kindergarten teacher and start a family of her own.