Saturday, May 23, 2009
Author: Carol Lynch Williams
Publisher: St. Martins Griffin
Type: Fiction:Young Adult
Pages: 224 Hardcover
Release: May 12, 2009
Purchase: $16.31 @ Amazon.com (HERE)
“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.
(Above excerpt is from the back cover of The Chosen One)
This novel was inspired by a real-life story that was told by a girl who escaped from her polygamist society. Carol Lynch Williams, an experienced and award winning author, took this girl’s harrowing tale and wrote a novel about how being brave enough to live your truth will set you free.
The thought of being forced to marry your own uncle who is fifty years older than you… with age spots and yellow teeth… NO NO NO! I wouldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it. I could live in the mind of Kyra and completely understand her repulsion to this insistence by her family and her community. There is absolutely NO WAY that I would do that!
Kyra is in love with Joshua… a young man who loves her in return and just as deeply. When he attempts to speak with “The Prophet” (how they can use that adjective to describe these polygamist LOONEY TOONS is beyond me!) to convince him to allow Kyra to marry him instead of ICKY, OLD UNCLE PERVY! Instead of being met with reason, he is met with violence. After his brutal beating, he is then forced to flee the compound and never return. However, Joshua isn’t the only one beaten over the simple act of loving another. The “Prophet” (ugh, that word again) and his men beat the daylights out of Kyra as well.
It is at this point that I wonder if we can even consider Kyra’s parents to be any kind of parents at all. I mean, what kind of people allow their children to be beaten and forced into a statutory rape situation? I cannot even imagine the amount of severe brainwashing that these individuals must have suffered. Even so, I still DON’T GET IT! I’m a mom. Once you’ve given birth to a child, you would do anything to protect and love it. Anything! Including self-sacrifice. Why Kyra’s mother didn’t stage their escape is beyond me! She is no mother, in my book.
Moving on to more outrageousness… what is the deal with these compounds at their “private police?” (BTW: In this book they are referred to as “The God Squad”… PAHLEASE!) How is it that our national and local security forces are unable to monitor this stuff? I understand that this is private property that it is happening on… however, crimes on private property are still subject to the laws of the city, state and nation. How murders and beatings are occuring without any recourse is beyond me! We have forces at our borders. If this type of insanity is still occuring in our nation, we need boundary patrols of these private compounds. We need to ensure that these children have a means of escape into safety. We need to pass laws to regulate the upbringing of these children. If it is a known fact that polygamy is existing, then we need to ensure that there are regular inspections by child services departments. This type of abuse should NOT exist in today’s day and time. I don’t care what they consider “religious freedom,” this is just child abuse. No 60-year-old man needs a 14 year old bride for a 7th wife. Disgusting.
The last thing that really “got my blood boiling” is this concept that “secular things” are the works of Satan and will cause you to go to hell. I cannot imagine scaring my children with such words. And, these so-called-secular things are books… like Dr. Suess or Bridge to Terabithida. What? A child reads Green Eggs & Ham and is going to Hell? Absolutely absurd! Kyra’s first love with Joshua was also deemed something that she would be sent to Hell for. Ridiculous. So… FEAR, not love is how these Mormon Polygamist Sects control their children? Nice.
Be ready to be impassioned when you read this book. The fact that this novel is based upon a true story is really what sets me into orbit! I just can’t believe that this type of stuff is actually happening within our own country! I am outraged! Don’t get me wrong… I’ve read about this stuff and I watch Big Love. But, I guess somewhere inside myself I thought that the government wouldn’t allow these types of things continue… they wouldn’t let our nation’s daughters be raped by old men and call it “religious freedom.” No… our government has put an end to this… right?
I would allow my children to read this book and find it to be age-appropriate for 10-11 and up. I will share this with my girls and circle back around with you readers to tell you what they think.
This is a very fast book to read. I think I was done within an hour. However, as a mother, I was so completely angry that I had to let this book sit for days before I wrote this review. If I hadn’t… let me tell you that the cursing & swear words would have been everywhere in this post! What I need to remember is that this novel is also the celebration of one girl’s bravery and how that bravery gave her a new lease on life.
For the genre: Fiction:YA, I will rate this book a 10 OUT OF 10. I highly recommend this novel to book clubs (especially mother/daughter clubs) as it will promote A GREAT BOOK CLUB discussion.
My heartfelt thanks to Sarah at St. Martins for this great book!