I have never felt more useless and hopeless for the future of a civilization. The amount of pain and hardship the continent of Africa has had to endure is almost too much for me to handle. I suddenly feel as if everything I own and experience I take for granted. Barbara does an outstanding job describing the tragic realities of imperialism and colonizing Africa.
Character wise, I loved how distinct the girls’ voices are within this book. We read from the eyes of five women; Ruth May, the youngest; Leah and Adah, twins; Rachel, the eldest;and Orleanna Price, the mother. My favorites were the mother and Leah as far as whom I liked the most and found had the most character growth. But, while I certainly didn’t like Rachel, seeing how privileged and ignorant her character remained, I thought, did an excellent job of representing the millions of people that thought and acted just like her, refusing to see the truth. The only character I didn’t really feel the need to read from was Adah. I found her to be a little too much of a pity-partier and too “unique” for my taste. The one character we never read from is Nathan Price, an extremely religious missionary. He truly believed what he did was right, which I found maddening. I absolutely despised him, and just how insane he was. While I know countless of wonderful Christians, there are still far too many religious extremists like him that exist.
While this may be a very slow moving novel that certainly takes its time for events to unfold, it’s an absolutely wonderful one that is not easily forgotten. It really makes you think about the negatives of missionaries and Christianity and the uglier side to the U.S and Europeans. It also makes you worry for the current state of Africa and if it will ever improve. We can only hope.
Very powerful read.
A little side note: I actually had to read this for school, so I probably wouldn’t have picked it up usually, but I have to say that it feels so satisfying having completed it. So worth the read.