Religion Reviews

The Chosen One

[openbook booknumber=”0312555113″][rating:4/5]

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, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much – if you don’t count her secret visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her 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 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.

This book addresses a very powerful and deeply controversial subject and in a surprisingly strong, vivid and heart breaking way for a YA novel. I think this book exemplifies one of YA’s true strengths in that way. Kyra is a young girl growing up in a remote compound belonging to a polygamist sect. She has grown up in a family with one father and three mothers and now has twenty siblings with two more on the way. She has known no other life and in fact finding out about other ways of life is next to impossible and is considered a sin. By chance Kyra discovers a mobile library and that discovery, along with a library card, opens up fresh new horizons for her and she discovers a world beyond the compound’s barbed wire fences and brutal attitudes towards freedom and independent thought.

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The Chalice and The Blade

[openbook booknumber=”0062502891″][rating:3/5]

The phenomenal bestseller, with more than 500,000 copies sold worldwide, now with a new epilogue from the author–The Chalice and the Blade has inspired a generation of women and men to envision a truly egalitarian society by exploring the legacy of the peaceful, goddess-worshiping cultures from our prehistoric past.

I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to read this book. A lot of what I read in its pages changed my entire worldview and caused me to reevaluate the history of the world as I knew it through a feminist lense and to change how I felt and thought about that history. There was a lot in this book that I didn’t completely agree with but there were many parts that I was glad to have read and have reached a deeper and richer understanding of the world because of it.

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Strength to Love

[openbook booknumber=”0800614410″]

[rating:5/5]

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book Strength to Love is a book that contains several of MLK’s key sermons printed and bound all in one place. It was a free gift that I received at the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2002. Yes, I am only now getting around to reading it. This is one book that I should not have put off reading.

I am not normally a very religious person. There is a lot about religion that I find disgusting, hypocritical and at times down right hateful towards various people based on things as flimsy as gender, color, sexual orientation and lifestyle choice. I say flimsy because at the same time religion (any religion) tends to say that we are all equal before God and that it is our soul that He values above everything else. This book gave me new faith.

Most of the sermons – such as A Tough Mind and a Tender Heart, On Being a Good Neighbor, Love in Action, and Loving Your Enemies – talk about that exact problem with religion and with humanity. MLK’s urgings to love everyone regardless of personal differences and to stand up for what you believe in regardless of what other people think about it were very inspiring and moving. These sermons gave me hope, realizing that people (religious people) once thought like this and believed in it very strongly. They also helped strike home how very little of this type of rhetoric is heard anymore in the religious community.

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