The Compulsive Reader: Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Keep Sweet by Michele Dominguez Greene

Alva Jane's life is sweet at Pineridge, the gated Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints community in which she lives. Her mother is the favorite of her father's seven wives, and that means a nice home and plenty of food for her and her siblings, even if she has to contend with her father's spiteful first wife and her sister. Alva Jane looks forward to when she will become a woman and hopefully marry her crush, Joseph John. And for a little while, it seems like that might happen—until she is caught giving him an impulsive, innocent kiss. Her family and community strike back, beating her and forcing her into a marriage with a man old enough to be her grandfather. It's only then that Alva Jane realizes the true state of her community, and just how much she stands to lose if she would go against them again.

Michele Dominguez Greene has brought to life an unbelievable but strangely compelling story that will stop you in your tracks. Every detail of Alva Jane's life is carefully and meticulously researched and explained thoroughly by her foreign culture and religion, showing us a world that is hard to imagine, but true nonetheless. Alva Jane's complete assurance that she is living her life the way God intended her to live is disconcerting at first, especially as she details what is expected of her in the future and the way her mother and the sister wives live. But it gets even more suspenseful and chilling as Alva Jane soon learns the cruel side of her community and discovers that the price for disobeying even the smallest rule is brutality, and most people are too brainwashed to ever stand up for what's right. This is a tough, intense book about the often occurring horrors of forced, underage marriages, and the courage and the resilience of the women who do stand up for themselves and attempt to escape the abuse. Keep Sweet is an important book; please read it, but not without plenty of tissues.

Cover Comments: I love this cover, and the way the girl's hair is covering her face--quite symbolic. Somehow I don't think that the font the title is in fits in with the overall tone of the novel, but it makes for a very attractive cover nonetheless. Looking at it, I would not think that the book is about what it is.

Keep Sweet will be released from Simon Pulse on March 9th, 2010.

ARC received from publisher.


Jo said...

Sound interesting!


Amazing review! I really wanna read this book :)

ExtremeReader said...

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Stephanie said...

I hadn't heard anything about this one yet, I'm interested though!