▪   Book: Watch How We Walk

▪   Author: Jennifer LoveGrove

▪   Genre: Fiction

▪   Year of Release: 2013

▪   Read 317-page paperback edition in February 2014.

Book Description: Emily is a 10 year-old girl growing up in a small town environment.  She is shy and doesn’t spend much time with other girls in her school, mainly because her family are practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses.  They attend regular meetings at the Kingdom Hall, read Watchtower magazines faithfully, and go out in service door to door, telling worldly neighbours about the Truth.  However, Emily is starting to encounter a number of stressors in her young life, from her older sister who is beginning to take on a more rebellious tone of late, to her Uncle Tyler who is falling out of disfavour with the Elders, to her parents’ fighting, to the kids at school who make fun of her faith.  As Emily struggles to make sense of the world around her, shocking things begin to happen that will change everyone.

Book Review: This was an amazing first novel by poet Jennifer LoveGrove.  The style of writing was unique: sometimes hard to follow with a bit of time jumping and lack of quotation marks, but it usually works.  Although the plot developed slowly at first, eventually it kicked into high gear half-way through, so that you literally couldn’t put the book down for the last half of the novel, always a good sign.  LoveGrove did a fantastic job developing primary character Emily, showcasing her 10 year-old confusion and mixed emotions as events and conversations unfolded around her.  LoveGrove also developed some excellent character sketches of a faith-first father, a nuanced mother, and a rebellious older sister Lenora, who was going through typical teenage issues but inside a very religiously conservative environment.  LoveGrove developed the story so that we truly could picture and feel the varied emotions of the characters, even the claustrophobia that many felt inside the walls of a strict faith.  This was a great examination into some shocking realities of people and their lives within a religious community that has no room for multiple truths, and the damage that results from a rigid stance.  The novel tells an emotional, intense, and fierce tale.

Overall: 4.5 stars out of 5.