When I began reading the book, I thought I wouldn't like it. The format of the book is unusual. It is written from the perspective of a mother and her four daughters, the family of a Baptist Preacher who drags them all on a mission to Africa. I didn't like the way the writing style changed every chapter. However, once I got over that, I really enjoyed the book. I think it is masterfully written. Each character grows and changes as the book progresses, except the mother, whose entries are all written in the past tense.
I disliked several aspects. The mother foretells a death in the family, and then Kingsolver "fake pumps" twice before the character actually dies. I also felt that the book moved too slowly in some places. It just meandered a little slowly before the climax in parts and waxed philosophical for too long after the climax. And I hated the father "bad kind" as they would say in Hawaii.
However, I loved Adah, the hemiplegic daughter. Her affinity for Emily Dickinson naturally made her a kindred spirit for me. I liked how Adah could look at the dark side of everything. I liked how Rachel was such a superficial character. Leah and Adah were the depth, Rachel was the color. Ruth May was the comic relief, although I actually laughed at Adah's chapters more than Ruth May's. The mother, Orleanna, provided an anchor and a perspective that added another level of depth to the book.
I cried at the end of the book, and for me that means the book was a success because it had become real. And I think I would have cried even if I weren't pregnant.
I would recommend the book to anyone who is interested in Africa, Literature, or just loves to read. It's not a happy book in any way, but it's definitely a good read.