Book Review: The Chosen One

thechosenoneAuthor:       Carol Lynch Williams

Publisher:    St. Martins Griffin

ISBN:          0-312-55511-3

Website:      HERE

Type:         Fiction:Young Adult

Pages:        224 Hardcover

Release:      May 12, 2009

Purchase:    $16.31 @ (HERE)

The Story

“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)

The Review

carolThis 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. 

On Sher’s “Out of Ten Scale:”

anm-logo-for-approved-books-post-sizeBe 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?

mother-approved-button-3I 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!

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9 Responses

  1. Sandy

    May 23rd, 2009 at 5:36 am

    I can hear your outrage! I would be too, and I AM when I hear reports on these types of places…Big Love it isn’t. I wasn’t sure how you were going to rate this book, but you are absolutely right. If a book can get you this riled up, it deserves a 10!

    Sandy´s last blog post..Kindle Update!

  2. Molly

    May 23rd, 2009 at 6:04 am

    I know that I will read this book soon, probably in conjunction with the 19th Wife. Your review is terrific – as usual!

    I wanted to let you know that I gave you the “friendly blogger” award today.

    Hope you and the girls have a great Memorial Day weekend!

    Molly´s last blog post..Blushing blogger

  3. christina

    May 23rd, 2009 at 6:14 am

    This sounds like such a good book!

  4. Kathy

    May 23rd, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I just won a copy of this book and can’t wait for it to get here. Great review.

    Kathy´s last blog post..Review: The Middle Place

  5. Rebecca

    May 23rd, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    It is so sad how these people are brainwashed. Kyra is lucky not to be one of them. I truly think these people wholeheartedly believe that “the prophet” (that word again!) has their best interests at heart and is truly a messenger from god. I knew someone who was Mormon once. Not in the polygamist sect, but she was not even allowed to go into certain rooms in her own church because “she wasn’t old enough” (she was 17). WTF? Does that not set off a million red flags to people? But if you grew up believing this was how things worked, you might not question it.

    I believe anyone who blindly follows any kind of dogma, religious or political or any kind of dogma, without questioning it and without thinking about how you as an individual feel about it is certifiable. I don’t care if you are Mormon or Muslim or Baptist. It drives me crazy. How can you not know and understand what you believe? If I ask a question about someone’s faith and they give me a pat answer, I dismiss them as not knowing what they are talking about. So many people follow a faith because their parents did and their parents parents did. That’s a mistake. One should follow it because that is what makes sense to them, not because they were told it makes sense.

    I didn’t mean to get preachy or anything, it is just a topic that riles me up! lol I am very interested in reading this book, Sheri. And you wrote a great review on it. I am glad that Williams could get this girl’s story down to share with the world. And I know if you gave it a 10 out of 10 that I shouldn’t think twice about wanting to read it!

    Rebecca´s last blog post..Take Me Away Saturday

  6. Trin

    May 23rd, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    I have seen these book cover but never took the time to read what it was about. I now have to have it. I am due for a new book, so off I go.

    Thanks for the wonderful reviews.

    Trin´s last blog post..Audiobook Challenge Completed!

  7. Alyce

    May 23rd, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    This does sound like it would be emotionally tough to read.

    Alyce´s last blog post..Giveaway Winners

  8. Ladytink_534

    May 27th, 2009 at 11:08 am

    The polygamist society just really creeps me out. It’s their way of life and the only one many have ever known but it’s still creepy to me. Plus the fear not love really, really makes me angry too.

  9. amelia

    September 11th, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I love your book and I am currently reading it for my 7th grade reading class!

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