Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Chosen One

by Carol Lynch Williams

Dedication: "For the Cliff-hangers and for Julie, Margaret, Rita, and Uma; But most especially for Christian Green"

First paragraph: "'If I was going to kill the prophet,' I say, not even keeping my voice low, 'I'd do it in Africa.'"

Review: Kyra, a thirteen-year-old girl, has grown up in a confined polygamist compound. She's spent her years loving her family and trying not to question her father and three mothers. That all changes when Prophet Childs announces her impending marriage to one of the Apostles, her sixty-year-old uncle. The rest of the story is about Kyra's struggle - her struggle to figure out what she should do, how she will leave her family to become her Uncle's seventh wife, and how to let go of the boy she loves.

Work today allowed me to read all but the last two pages of this book. I was hooked from page one. The only thing I did not like about this book was that Kyra seemed more like a fourteen, almost fifteen, year old rather than a thirteen almost fourteen year old. Yes, I think there is a huge difference in those two ages. I remember being almost fourteen and I remember being almost fifteen; she definitely falls into the almost fifteen category.

Other than that, this story is infuriating, it's tear-jerking, it's beautiful. I couldn't believe how angry I was with some of the people in the story and how anxious I was for Kyra's decisions.

I can't really imagine what it would be like to grow up in Kyra's world. Everything about it seemed so awful and yet, she'd managed to be content, maybe even happy sometimes. It was all she knew and yet she showed such strength and courage to stand up for herself, which of course resulted in severe beatings.

Kyra's story, while built on the idea of polygamy, is actually more about self-respect. It's about making choices that are right for you. This book didn't make you hate Kyra's family simply because they were polygamist. In fact, you really learn to love her family, despite the fact that they are choosing to live such a different lifestyle then the rest of us.

Which reminds me, another favorite thing -- Kyra's family. Usually when you have a story like this the parent's are awful, it's all their fault their children are miserable, etc. But not so with The Chosen One. Kyra's parent's are very loving. They care about her a great deal and they actually hate to see her suffering the way she is. Unfortunately, like most the other people/families in this compound, the only thing they know is that you follow the words of The Prophet or you lose everything - children, home, etc.

Like I said before, there are some completely loath-able people in this story but on the opposite spectrum there are people you can't help but love. People that risk their life to help protect Kyra, a girl they barely know. I love these characters because each time I read about them in any story they renew my faith in society.

Anyway, this is a great book and I would definitely suggest reading it at some point. In case you missed it -- READ THIS BOOK!

Click here for a preview of The Chosen One

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