I have my sisters and brothers running all over the place. My mother is Father’s third wife. Our trailers, one for each Mother with her children, sit in a group, like wagons circling a fire. This is the way it is all over the Compound, not just with us. Fathers with all their wives grouped together. Making a circle. Like how we’re one eternal round in heaven (p 50).
In The Chosen One, Carol Lynch Williams tells a story of religious devotion, manipulation, isolation, fear and family. Kyra lives with her Father, Mothers and many siblings in a polygamist cult under the dictatorship of Prophet Childs and his Apostles, and their henchmen – the God Squad. As Kyra enters adolescence, she risks disobedience by secretly visiting a mobile library, which introduces her to children’s literature, and carrying on a tryst with her young neighbor, Joshua.
When she is chosen to be the seventh wife of her 60-year-old uncle, she resists and is punished. Knowing she will not marry her uncle but reluctant to leave her family, Kyra struggles to break free of the bonds – positive and negative – that have made up the whole of her life.
Williams’ writing has a way of engaging and capturing her reader. Though this book only touches on a moment in a cloistered life and leaves many questions unanswered, it is not diminished. As a fan of HBO’s Big Love, I found this an interesting take on an outlying population.
Library copy (print ) | St. Martin’s Griffin | May 12, 2009 | ISBN: 978-0312555115 | 224 pages | Ages 13 and up | $16.95