Review Blog

May 07 2019

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

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Hachette, 2019. ISBN: 9781444945256.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. This book was captivating and disturbing. A confronting story of family relationships is told through the eyes of Rachel. Rachel belongs to a family devoted to a fundamentalist Christian religion.
The family church emphasises female submission and follows a rigid interpretation of the Bible that sets all followers apart from the rest of civilisation. Family members do not attend school or associate with members of the wider community.
Rachel accesses the one computer in the house to manage her father's business. This opens the door to knowledge - and Rachel begins to realise that there might be more to life. This book sensitively and intelligently explores the relationship Rachel has with her faith. The reader considers the actions of her family when her access to wider knowledge is discovered. As Rachel interrogates the differing perspectives on offer the reader also interprets their perspectives of the Bible, feminism, and vegetarian lifestyles.
There is a delicate touch to the writing that shows Rachel evolving through the experience of leaving the community. The support she receives nurtures her and is provided without judgement. 'Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?' is the question that returns throughout the book. Devoted is an essential read.
Linda Guthrie

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