Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Summary on Goodreads.

"The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past..." [more +]

Well, I didn't LOVE it bu I liked it alright. The story has the usual elements found in a cult: cruel punishment and ancient men marrying 16 year old girls, for example.

Minnow is clever, but for someone who didn't know how to read, never watched to tv, lived in the wilderness with 100 people or so, and all her literary, creative, and all critical thinking source came from the Prophet, she was way too smart with words.

Anyway, Minnow was faithful and believed in the Prophet until this had the big revelation from God to marry her. Here we have a different God from what I have usually read. I mean, this man, the Prophet, invented a whole new religion. And that was interesting, the way the author came up with that.

The story is more about Minnow in her present situation (in juvie) than her life in the mountains with the cult. I think that was alright, after all, I didn't want to read all the absurdities that the Prophet could come up with. I already know that a cult is extreme.

In the present time, we follow Minnow adapting through her new life and learning to read (something that women were not allowed to do in the cult). So we are back and forth between Minnow's present and past.

One thing that I didn't get was the big emphasis in finding out who killed the Prophet (or how he really died). I mean, the man was Satan in sheep's clothes, what was the big deal? He was dead. Period. But then again, maybe this was just a scheme to help Minnow open up and heal.

I did like the writing style and the story. I think this is a wonderful debut novel.