11 August 2009
The Chosen One - Carol Lynch Williams
Last night, I read the ARC of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams that I received from Julie at Booking Mama. I intended only to read a chapter or two, but I read it at one gulp. Young Kyra, only 13 years old, lives in a locked compound led by The Prophet, and policed by The God Squad. The members of this religious group practice polygamy and believe that the word of The Prophet is the ultimate authority on earth. Although Williams avoids labelling the sect, her descriptions of the families, with women in long dresses and braided hair, call to mind the offshoot-LDS group depicted in "Big Love."
Kyra has a questioning nature, and has already begun to question the strict rules about reading books other than scripture, the rules that prevent her from calling outside doctor for her ailing, pregnant birth mother, the rules that require child abuse in the name of discipline - and, especially, the rules about the relations between men and women. She has been rebellious, as far as possible, by visiting a bookmobile, and by kissing a boy from the compound, but she is a loving daughter to all of her mothers, and to all of her siblings.
Her rebellion turns to panic when The Prophet decrees that she has been chosen to become the seventh wife of Uncle Hyram, gentle father's brutal, 60-year-old brother. Although her father pleads with The Prophet and his brother, Kyra is told that she must marry, or face disasters worse than the brutal beating she is given by The Prophet's enforcers. She knows that her family, also, will be punished severely by The God Squad, which not only delivers beatings, but is known to have murdered those who disobey or try to run.
The Chosen One is considered a teen novel, but Kyra's story is so riveting, so realistically-written, that anyone could read it and be caught up in her choices as the one chosen to live a life she never would choose for herself.
Thank you, Booking Mama, for sending me this book.