Wow! Gather the Daughters is an intense ride through life inside of a cult. While it was sick and twisted, gruesome at times and cringe worthy, Jennie Melamed wrote through the tough spots tastefully. I do want to say up front that this book may have some triggers for people suffering and recovering from abuse so please take care in picking this book up if you feel like the content may upset you.
Even with some difficult subject matter, the writing is never graphic and only hints at some of the dark goings-on within the cult. I was quickly sucked into the story and had a hard time putting it down. Told in various points of view, each a daughter in the community, the reader is sucked into the world of a cult. Living on their island, the people have made their own rules by which everyone must follow. While many of the rules seem strange, they are in place to keep things running in an orderly way.
It is obvious from the start that women and daughters are held to different standards than the men: they are to be utterly compliant to their fathers and husbands. Once a daughter reaches puberty, she must have a summer of fruition in which a young male from the community will choose her as a wife. Janey, a strong willed girl who starves herself to stave off puberty as long as she can, starts to gather the other daughters in the community to tell them that she thinks their way of life is wrong. She is starting to see cracks in the unified façade that the elders are presenting. She wants things to change or she wants out. Janey, along with some of the other girls who believe her, begin a rebellion. The intensity of the situation continues to grow and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen.
I give this ground breaking new book five out of five stars easily! I got out of my own comfort zone to read this and I am so glad I did. I feel like there are many underlying issues in this book that could be used to examine our own society such as the continued double standards present between men and women and the way people continue to think that their way is the right way and want to challenge and argue with anyone who disagrees (so not going into a political tangent here!). If you read this with an open mind, you will easily be able to see how the issues in the book transpose to our own lives. The writing was beautiful, the characters were engaging and the plot moved along swiftly. I highly recommend this book!