Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The Chosen One (review)
The Chosen One is one of those stories that is heart-wrenching and feels like it could be a true story. It's not. However, Kyra's voice is so authentic and she carries this novel. She's youthful yet wise, but not in a way that feels like an adult interjecting themselves into a child protagonist For Kyra, growing up in polygamist compound she's had to grow up fast. At thirteen, she's spent most of her life raising her younger siblings and being given adult responsibilities.
Even though her father is a good man and tries to protect Kyra, she's seen enough to understand the world around her. She's seen the young women married to old men, seen the women who fight-back ostracized. Yet Kyra is still hopeful. That's part of what makes Kyra both tragic and realistic. Like any child, she dreams of her own potential happiness. She wants to have a choice in life, to marry her crush Joshua, not to be a child-bride to an older man. She really believes that she might have a chance.
That is until the prophet has a "vision" of Kyra's and sees her marry her own uncle, an elder in the compound who already has six wives.
This story shines because it doesn't pretend there is an easy answer for Kyra. She's thirteen and faced with an unwanted marriage, or potentially running away and leaving the family she loves. On the outside it's easy to say Kyra should run. But Kyra struggles are more realistic. She loves her father, her mother and her gaggle of siblings. Just a child herself she can't imagine life outside the home she's always known.
This book navigates that inner conflict and the choices Kyra must make beautifully, without oversimplifying the problem. The Chosen tackles a difficult issue with rare respect and intelligence.
This audiobook is narrated by the wonderful Jenna Lamia, who captures the story perfectly. For a thoughtful and genuine book this is highly recommended.