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Quiver: A Novel, by Julia Watts.

May 12, 2018

Quiver: A Novel, by Julia Watts.  Ingram Publisher Service, 2018.

3 stars

A novel about the friendship of two unlikely teenage girls, one whose family is fiercely evangelical and patriarchal and the other whose family supports her “gender fluid” identity.

Julia Watts is a native of Appalachia and now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.  She has written over a dozen adult and young adult novels, often dealing with LBGT individuals living in the conservative rural and small towns of the region.  Her books have received the Lambda Literary awards, signifying their supportive portrayal of lesbians. She teaches in local colleges and is recognized as a significant writer in east Tennessee.

Libby is the oldest child of parents who belong to the Quiverful religious sect which follows a rigid lifestyle of male dominance, numerous children, and extreme isolation from the “sinful” external world. Her mother is pregnant with her seventh child, and Libby’s life consists of taking care of younger siblings.  When a new family moves into an empty house nearby, Libby makes friends with Zo, a girl about her age. Zo’s family is very progressive, and at first the two families seem compatible.  Both girls struggle to understand the other, and Libby begins to recognize that her father is not as perfect and godlike as he claims. The rigidity of both fathers forces the girls apart until an emergency interrupts their lives.

By making issues personal rather than ideological, Watts presents an example of the cultural clash present in America today. Then she goes on to describe how the gap between us can be bridged and the difficulties coming together bring.  This is a hopeful book, at times perhaps, overly hopeful perhaps.

This book seems aimed at high-school-age readers, but those of us outside that category can profit from reading it.  I recommend Quiver to various readers who seek possible bridges across the divides in our society.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. permalink
    May 12, 2018 4:34 pm

    Sounds like one to be read, Pat

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