Monday, May 18, 2009

Transfer of Faith

It took me over three weeks to read The Poisonwood Bible. Rarely does it take me that long to read anything and if I'm reading a book of little importance that I know I will struggle with due to writing style or just plain dislike I will typically return it. Thankfully I got over the "I must finish this book because I started it" guilt about a year ago but this one kept tugging at me. Although I loathed the thought of my evening reading time being consumed by a book that seemed to never end I crawled my way though it. And in hindsight I'm a better person for it. Not for finishing what I started, I've set enough of those examples in my life and continue to do so, but for listening to the little words. When a novel is over 500 pages it is natural to exit the narrative with the big picture and forget the small parts that pushed a button when you read them or that flipped a switch as you felt a pang of recognition.

You can search the Internet and find all kind of summaries and character descriptions while avoiding the actual reading of The Poisonwood Bible. But what you would miss is the meat of the book. The parts that make you pause and leave you wishing you could sneeze such thoughts out of your mind. You would escape the embarrassment of living in a nation of plenty and forgo the desire to know what "want" really is. I may have empty pockets but at least I have pockets and it is my burden to fill them.

"But Antole said suddenly, "Don't expect God's protection
in places beyond God's dominion. It will only make you feel
punished. I'm warning you. When things go badly, you will
blame yourself."

"What are you telling me?"

"I am telling you what I'm telling you. Don't try to make life
a mathematics problem with yourself in the center and
everything coming out equal. When you are good, bad things
can still happen. And if you are bad, you can still be lucky."


Erin the Librarian said...

I bet this will make more sense when I finish the book.

Lisa Greenfelder said...

That is almost a rave revue compared to your Facebook posts. True it was long, and did take some long routes to get to the conclusions.... but,
I enjoyed the history lesson of this part of the world, seen through the diverse eyes of the eldest sister and the twin Leah. The father is completely unlikeable, and the mother should have been shaken and slapped, but overall I enjoyed hearing what happened to even the charachters I wasn't suppose to like. The greasy pilot comes to mind.
I wish I were able to make it to book club to discuss it with you and hear what crossed over for you.

meredith said...

I can't wait for book club tonight. It should be interesting and I am sure to have someone find something that puts this book in a better perspective for me. I found it much like the Old Testament more than the New - horrifing (sp?) yet in some ways inspiring and enlightining. The characters I found lacking something.