Madelyn’s Bibliophilia

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BY MADELYN SCHMIDT madelyn.schmidt@go.mnstate.edu

A weekly book review column in which I write about classics, newer novels, poetry books, and works by local F-M authors.

Fellow book-lovers (and non-book-lovers)—hello, and welcome to my life as a bibliophiliac! I am Madelyn, a senior majoring in English/mass communications with a Certificate in Publishing here at MSUM. Since a very young age, I have been an avid reader and a lover of stories. I cannot wait to share books that have inspired and shaped me, as well as books I am discovering along the way. 

In the upcoming semester, I will review books I have recently read, classics that have stuck with me, and local Fargo-Moorhead authors’ works.

For this first column, I will be sharing my thoughts on a few of my favorite novels. As hard as it is to pick favorites, I definitely have a list floating around of my top five or 10 or 15 books. They range anywhere from young adult to historical fiction, from modern memoirs to the classics we were all forced to read in high school, and anything in between.

Just a few of my favorite novels include “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, “Educated” by Tara Westover, and everything J.K. Rowling has ever written.

I will focus on “The Poisonwood Bible” for today’s review. I read this very long, yet very intriguing novel my sophomore year of high school for an English class. “Poisonwood” follows a Southern Baptist preacher and his wife and four daughters as they travel to the African Congo to become missionaries. The Price family endures things they never expected, and the result is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but never expected.

As the point of view switches between the daughters, we get to hear the story through the perspectives of a curious five-year-old; a sassy, independent teenager; and a set of polar opposite twins. I love that we as readers get a first-person perspective from those affected most in the story. 

The writing in this novel is poetic and memorable. Each sentence is constructed to reflect the age of the girl speaking and her feelings about the wild events in the Congo. The imagery Kingsolver creates is fascinating, and the connection I felt to the characters even a quick 20 pages in is not something every author can do.

So much happens in “The Poisonwood Bible,” and I cannot praise Kingsolver enough for her writing style, her character development, and the story itself. For me, “Poisonwood” is a solid 10/10.

And that’s what’s on my bookshelf. Until next time!

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