Review : Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

Tuesday, August 04, 2015 0 Comments A + a -

Title : Devoted
Author : Jennifer Mathieu
Published : 02-06-2015 by Roaring Brook Press
Buy from : Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo
Add to : Goodreads
Rating : 5 Stars

Rachel Walker is devoted to God. She prays every day, attends Calvary Christian Church with her family, helps care for her five younger siblings, dresses modestly, and prepares herself to be a wife and mother who serves the Lord with joy. But Rachel is curious about the world her family has turned away from, and increasingly finds that neither the church nor her homeschool education has the answers she craves. Rachel has always found solace in her beliefs, but now she can’t shake the feeling that her devotion might destroy her soul. 

When I first heard about Devoted I knew I had to read it. Religion, personal freedom, and a coming of age story? It had my name written all over it. Let me tell you this first though, while I loved Devoted it’s definitely not an easy read. It makes you think about so much. From your own religion and faith to what you want out of your own “wild and precious life.”

When we first enter the world of Rachel we see how she lives day in and day out. She’s charged with taking care of her younger siblings and taking care of the house. She and her younger sister are in charge of so much that it makes me upset that they cannot have a real childhood. It’s not fair to be so young and have to do so much. Especially while their brothers, and father, only have to work and pretty much have free time to do what they want. Within reason of course. If you’re not familiar with the Quiverfull or the “Christian family renewal movement”, I suggest you look it up. But if you’re not inclined to, think of the Duggar family. That’s really all you need to know about Rachel and her family.

As time goes on Rachel starts questioning why God has given her gifts if she’s not allowed to use them. She wonders why the only thing she, and all girls in her family, are only allowed to aspire to be mothers and wives. She doesn’t understand so much about what she’s grown up around but she loves her family so much that she tries her best. When she’s “discovered” and given the ultimatum to go to a camp or leave home, she leaves and moves in with a girl named Lauren who grew up like Rachel and has left the movement.

I found myself relating to Rachel so much. No, I never grew up in this movement, but I have grown up in a church. I’ve questioned so much about what the Bible says and how I should be living as a Christian but at the end of the day, I have many mixed feelings about religion and faith. Rachel’s family’s faith is very extreme and is very much a cult. I hate using the words religion, faith and cult together but sometimes it just needs to be said together. Rachel’s church is so very anti-woman and anti-secular that it’s really scary.

I really loved Rachel’s journey. As the book went on we see Rachel grow from essentially being a part of a hive-mind into her own person who thinks and does things for herself. She never really lost her faith but knew it was different from her family’s. She’s rather inspiring. She’s proof that free will exists and is integral to life. 

Ashley. 20-something. Lover of books, football and My Little Pony. Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was a child my parents read Curious George to me and I think that's what started my love of reading. Nowadays I'm busy working, reading a ton of book, and making sure my daughter will one day share my love of reading.