I spent Sunday with Tertia Albertyn …

On Sunday morning I finished “The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver – what an incredible book.

poisonwood bible

I am stealing a review from Amazon, which is exactly as the book is:

I read Kingsolver’s earlier “Pigs in Heaven” and “Bean Trees.” I picked up “The Poisonwood Bible” on impulse to read while on vacation. Once I started reading it, I found it hard to put down.

I have never had much interest in African history, but this book made me want to find out more. Her characters, as in her earlier books, are very well realized and fascinating.

The story begins with the arrival in the Belgian Congo of Nathan Price, fire and brimstone Baptist preacher, and his reluctant family. The family’s story is told by Nathan’s wife, Orleanna, and their five {Reluctant Mom – error here, there are four daughters, unless I am missing something} daughters – shallow teen-age Rachel, twins Leah and Adah, and five-year-old Ruth May.

The voices of the characters are authentic and believable.

Other reviewers are correct in their assessment that this is, in a sense, two books. The first is about Nathan’s clumsy and ill-advised attempts to fit Africa to his fundamentalist beliefs, and the family’s attempts to fit their lives to Africa. The second is about the way a family tragedy marks its survivors and the different ways events in Africa mark them as well. I don’t agree that Kingsolver should have “stopped writing” at the end of the first part.

I was absolutely spellbound by the way the voices changed and the way they stayed the same from the first to the last of the book.

One believes in the characters, they change and grow as the book progresses. Other reviewers found Rachel grating, but I think that was the point. Her shallowness brought home the points that Kingsolver was making even more effectively than the earnest preaching by Leah. I got the sense that in her own way, Rachel understood the events perfectly well, but that she did not care.

I felt very complete when I finished the book. It was a satisfying experience

Source:  Amazon reviewer.

Finished the book, took a look around and thought, I really need to read another book.  So Close by Tertia Albertyn was lying on my study table.  I picked it up, thought, okay, I will give this a gander.

And that was where I spent my Sunday.  I started at about 09h30 and finished it at about 16h30.  There was the usual shopping, kids, making lunch, trying to stop the kids arguing about whose turn it was to change the channel — all the normal Sunday stuff in between.

I am not sure why I have not read this book earlier.

I was captivated/engrossed/sucked in/ignored my children totally from page one.

I have never met Tertia, but I felt like I was sitting next to her, and her mom, through each scan.

The book made me cry, makes me laugh, made me smile through the snot in certain places.  It made me hold my children a bit closer (when I remembered they were there), made me shake my head and wonder how infertiles manage to survive to face another day.

I did not like the book.  I loved the book.

It is an easy read, it all feels familiar – strangely so.  It was like I was sitting with a girlfriend and having a long lunch, with lots of wine and she was telling me her story.

Tertia writes in such a genuine way, you do not feel like she is trying tooo hard, or that she is so hopelessly painful that you prefer not to look.

Her story is incredible.  Her story is human.  Her story is pain and pain, and hope, and then pain, and repeat as many times as necessary.

I cried for Hannah.  I sobbed for Luke.  I tjanked for Ben.

Would I recommend the book to you to read?  Yes, most definitely.  Tertia brings with her an energy, a humour, and a spirit that you cannot but admire.

I am in awe of her. I am in deep adoration of someone who can survive that much, and still has the energy to get out of bed.


I have a slightly used version of the book.  Would you like to read it?  Let me know, and I will send my copy to you.