I'm glad so many of you read it and enjoyed it. It's just the kind of book that really makes you think, appreciate the excellent way it was written, learn about history, and just kind of haunts you for a long time. I'm glad I read it for a second time. I'm amazed at how much I had forgotten and I appreciated it all over again. Remembering what I did, as I read it again, I noticed a lot of foreshadowing, especially when it came to Ruth May and snakes. There were so many occasions when the author paired the two together. I found that interesting.
I thought it was amazing how she was able to give all five women(girls) a voice and a personality and was able to change language and writing styles with each one, even as they grew up (well, most of them grew up). I absolutely loved Orleanna's reflectiveness on her past, which was the only time we heard from her. She never narrated the book in the current time, like the girls did. I found that interesting. I felt so sad for her and how she could never forgive herself for everything that happened to their family. I loved how the final words of Ruth May were of forgiveness and wanting her mother to feel that from her. I think Orleanna probably did the best she could in most ways.
Nathan, as a few of you have already mentioned was the worst! I will share with you one passage from Adah which really demonstrated to me what a ridiculous person he was. She was talking about the grief the mother's bore at the loss of a child she wrote, "Our Father takes their ironical and self-interested tone to indicate a lack of genuine grief. His scientific conclusion: the Congolese do not become attached to their children as we Americans do. Oh, a man of the world is Our Father. He is writing a learned article on this subject for the Baptist scholars back home." Just one example of the awfulness of Nathan.
Rachel drove me crazy, but I really enjoyed her final chapter summing up her feelings on Africa and her life. I liked this passage about her father, "He came on strong, thinking he'd save the children, and what does he do but lose his own? That's the lesson, right there. If you take a bunch of practically grown, red-blooded daughters to Africa, don't you think at least some of them are going to marry or what have you, and end up staying? You can't just sashay into the jungle aiming to change it all over to the Christian style, without expecting the jungle to change you right back." I loved how she always used the wrong words, for example, "monotony" for "monogamy". Pretty funny.
I loved Adah. Such a fascinating character. I think her chapters were my favorites. I loved her love of words, language and palindromes. It was sad, though, how she always felt like "half" of a person and always left behind, or not chosen. Interesting how she learned to walk and talk and became a doctor and studying diseases. Oh, Haley, I found the quote you were looking for. Adah said, "For every life saved by vaccination or food relief, one is lost to starvation or war. Poor Africa. No other continent has endured such an unspeakably bizarre combination of foreign thievery and foreign goodwill." Interesting thought.
Leah was a great character, too. Pretty solid. I also loved Anatole and their relationship. She sacrificed so much for her husband and boys and for the people of Africa. I loved her passage on pg. 235 where she is talking about writing home to her classmates about Africa and how do you even begin? She says, "this morning I pulled back the mosquito netting that's tucked in tight around our beds because mosquitoes here give you malaria,.......and you wouldn't even get as far as breakfast before running out of paper. You'd have to explain the words, and then the words for the words."
Well, there is so much to say about this book. It's a book that when I read it, I wanted to share it. So, I'm glad that you took my suggestion and Dad read a book that he "wouldn't have read in a million years" and Catherine who doesn't like book clubs even read it! Yay. This is why I really like my book club, because I read books I never would have read, or known about and almost without exception, I'm glad I read it. Thanks for your time. I think I will definitely read another book written by Barbara Kingsolver.