Polly Holyoke's Reviews > The Prophet Calls

The Prophet Calls by Melanie Sumrow
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it was amazing

Melanie Sumrow’s powerful debut novel, The Prophet Calls, is a coming of age story with a fascinating setting. Raised in an isolated polygamous community in New Mexico, Gentry Forrester adores her family and her music. More than anything, Gentry longs to play her violin at the Sante Fe Music Festival with her big brother Tanner. But the community’s Prophet, who controls every aspect of their lives, calls from prison and forbids all forms of music and decrees that females can no longer leave the compound. When Gentry and Tanner defy these decrees to play at the festival, their family is torn apart, and Gentry must cope with the consequences.
I will never forget an opening scene in the novel where the community’s children play one of their favorite games, Apocalypse. As they run up and down a hillside squealing and hiding from imaginary government helicopters, soldiers and grenades, the reader realizes these kids live in a starkly different reality from our own. Throughout the novel Sumrow deftly depicts this alternate world and the believable, complex people who choose to raise their families in such a community.
Gentry Forrester is a courageous and thoughtful protagonist, determined to look out for her younger sister. The reader feels for spirited, intelligent Gentry as she struggles to make sense of her community’s oppressive rules. This fundamental aspect of adolescence, developing one’s own moral compass, is made so much wrenching because Gentry’s compass, in the end, drives her to escape her community and the only world she’s ever known.
The themes in this novel are certainly topical as people with different world views in our society continue to clash, and women continue to fight for basic freedoms. This well-written and haunting debut is well worth your time.
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Reading Progress

June 12, 2018 – Started Reading
June 12, 2018 – Shelved
June 12, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
June 12, 2018 – Finished Reading

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