The Chosen One
by Carol Lynch Williams
St. Martin’s Griffin
Purchased from Amazon
[#19 in my 75 Book Challenge]
Oooooooo I loved this book. REVIEW SPOILER: I give it an A. That’s why you should read this review. Don’t worry, I’m not going to give any real spoilers. Because I want you to read it for yourself.
So it’s a book about Kyra, a thirteen-year-old girl living on a polygamist compound. She has three mothers and nineteen siblings. Kyra finds out that she has been chosen as the seventh wife of her own uncle, a man she finds extremely unpleasant. One thing is certain: Kyra is not going to marry that man, no matter what.
I am fascinated by polygamy, and my purchase of this book came from a little obsession I had with the topic last year. I watched Big Love and Sister Wives like it was my JOB. And while those shows are trying to promote a more progressive image of the culture, The Chosen One represents tradition polygamy…the almost cult-like groups that live on dusty compounds. We do see Kyra living in a loving family, but the power given to the religious leaders is huge and oppressive. They rule with force and fear. No one can leave.
Anger. That was the emotion I felt throughout this book. Anger at the injustice and hypocrisy. Anger at the treatment of women. Anger at the abuse of religion for personal gain. The climax of the story left me with my jaw hanging open in disbelief, and the ending was perfect. I’m not necessarily against polygamy, but I am against polygamy as practiced in this way. Child brides, forced marriages, domestic violence, child abuse, forced poverty, and abuse of power are terrible in any situation, but it does seem difficult to separate polygomist groups from this type of behavior.
Final Grade: A I’m a sucker for a good book that pulls real emotions out of me, and this one delivered. It’s beautifully written, I read it almost in one sitting, and it made my heart pound. It made me angry and it made me cry.Though the topic might seem mature, is done in a very MG/YA appropriate way. There is graphic violence, but no graphic sexual scenes. I would recommend it to my more mature students and any adult.