Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her. 

But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

This was our book club pick for this month, and I have to say-- without book club I never would have picked it up. Actually, I probably never would have even heard of it. Really, I thought this was a fascinating story....when I think of it as just a story. But when I think about the girls that live this life day in and day out, it actually makes me sick to my stomach.

I was talking to my husband about this book the other day and I said, "How can anyone be a part of something like this and think they are in the right?" And then as I got thinking about it, I realized that that same thing could be said about any religion nowadays by anyone of a differing religion. In fact, I said to him, "I wonder if someone is saying the exact same thing about our religion right now..." 

People have crazy ideas. People get brainwashed into doing horrible things and say that it's "God's will", like labeling it as orders from Diety will make it okay. Polygamy is just one of those things that I absolutely cannot wrap my head around. I don't understand how someone could force thirteen-year-old girls (babies!!) to marry old men (often men they are related to), have baby after baby after baby, and convince them that if they die in childbirth or while pregnant, that they are an abomination and won't go to heaven. That if they even look at other boys, if they read books, if they aren't subservient to their spouse, the Apostles, the Prophet, then they are of the devil and are going to hell. That if their child cries or misbehaves in the slightest, they have to torture them into submissive obedience. I thank God that I was not raised like that. I don't blame Kyra in the slightest for wanting to run. Actually, I applaud her strength. 

It breaks my heart that people live like this. There are so many religions today that are based on love, built through love, and have loving, faithful members. The "religion" and "way of life" talked about in this book is absolutely NOT about love. It's about dominance and control and fear. It was interesting to me to read this book because, like I said, I never would have read it otherwise. It really made me think about how thankful I am that I was raised by loving parents in a nurturing environment. Not everyone is so lucky. 

I would recommend this book simply because it was very well written and it's a story that will stay with you. It's a story that will make you re-evaluate your life. It will make you count your blessings. Not once, but over and over again.

Happy Reading!


Katie Dodge said...

So, you like it?! I was worried that no one would! It was disturbing, but like you said, it stuck with me. I mean, I read it a couple years ago and I'm still thinking about it, hence the reason I suggested it for book club. Sorry I missed out last night! :(

Brittany said...

It was a quick and easy read for me. But it was a hard read, in the fact that it's hard to believe that kind of manipulation and brainwashing takes place. I'm glad I read it though, gave me some perspective.