AUTHOR Carol Lynch Williams
PUBLICATION August 31st 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin
READ October 9, 2012
Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters. That is, without questioning it much—if you don’t count her visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her secret meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her. But when the Prophet decrees that Kyra must marry her sixty-year-old uncle—who already has six wives—she must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.I've never been a religious person though I will admit to being fascinated with the fanatical elements that sometime occur within a religion. The Chosen One definitely falls into that category; it was haunting and shocking. Now, I am not a scholar on the issue but I have watched my fair share of documentaries and read every news story I can get my hands on. I can't claim to know for sure how much of what happens within these pages is truth, but I can say that with all of the information I have gathered on Polygamist colonies, none of it seems farfetched.
So much of what Carol Lynch Williams has written in this story is hard to read. The extreme punishments handed down to the young men and women of the colony and even to the babies who reside there were hard to stomach. I found myself angry, sad, and bewildered all at the same time. It took me through a wide array of emotions and I think that's because of Kyra's voice. It is written in the present, we are Kyra as she is experiencing the beautiful highs and terrible lows of this lifestyle. We are in the moment as she steals her first kiss, and it's so vivid that it gives you butterflies. It was a little difficult to get used to the way the story is written. With short clipped thoughts and the jumps back and forth in time, it took me a while to adjust. But once I did, I could not walk away. So I guess, while I did struggle to adjust, I can say that looking back it shouldn't have been written any other way because it wouldn't have the same effect that it did.
So did I like the characters in this novel? The majority of them, no. I'll admit that there were many instances where I wanted to cause bodily harm to some of them. Prophet Childs and Uncle Hyrum made my skin crawl in every single scene that they were in. I was furious with their actions and their way of thinking, but I think that was the point and that point was driven home very effectively. I did love some characters too. Watching Kyra go through her progression in the novel, and begin to question her surroundings, her way of life definitely created a connection between her and I. I had a sadness in me for all the children in this novel. They were growing up in such a toxic environment and had no way to know better (maybe that's a bad, judgmental way to put it, but that's how I'm putting it.)
The Chosen one was, at times, hard to read and yet the underlying theme of being open to the information around us and using it to our benefit was beautiful. I love these kinds of novels, I've said many times before how much I enjoy novels that deal with difficult subjects. Williams has weaved a tale this is equally haunting as it is thought-provoking, I have already recommended The Chosen One to a few of my friends and will continue to do so in the future.