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.
Wow. It's been a little difficult to put into words how I felt about this book. I'd read quite a few reviews beforehand and everyone kept using words like 'powerful' and 'emotional' and I can see now what everyone meant. This really isn't the type of book I'd normally pick up, but peer pressure from the blogging community pushed me towards this book. And I'm really glad that I did read this. It makes me angry and sad and hopeful all at the same time, but a few week's time between reading and this review has lessened some of the emotions so I don't come across as raging and angry.
It was kind of heartbreaking to read of Kyra's home life and her struggles against what she's grown up with and the firmly held beliefs of those around her. Kyra's life in this polygamist cult is not easy. Women's lives are not easy. Just look at Kyra's three mothers - all very hard-working and decent women, killing themselves giving birth to babies and cooking and cleaning and raising those children. Everything seemed geared towards men and how to make them happy and satisfied. This is the sad part.
The elders of this community and the decisions they make made me incredibly angry. Punishing a child for crying, giving barely pubescent girls to old men as wives. Using their people's beliefs as a tool to blackmailing people into doing what the Elders and Prophet say. Taking choices and freedoms like reading books and the choice of who can be married to whom away. It's very hard for me to accept that people live in these sort of circumstances. This is the part that makes me angry.
And then there's Kyra's rebellion, in which she was able to find some freedom in the Mobile Library. In books. The image of a 13 year old girl reading Harry Potter sat in the branches of a tree makes me ridiculously happy. As does the idea that there are people out there willing to help at great personal cost to help other people. This is the part that makes me hopeful.
This was a really interesting book, one that induces a lot of emotions. I was able to see something different, I was taken to a different place and was able to feel a great many things. For that, I'm really glad that I was able to read this.