A few weeks ago, author Meg Moseley offered me a copy of her forthcoming novel,When Sparrows Fall. Having never been asked to review a book before I'm now a little nervous as I sit to write this. Even though this book should become REQUIRED READING for anyone contemplating "Christian" homeschooling. Why the quotation marks around Christian? Because, as this book so beautifully illustrates, it's so easy for decent, honest, well educated Christian parents to start homeschooling and ending up playing "Shoots and Ladders" into the world of Christian Patriarchy and the extremely isolated homeschooling they promote. And from that point on the family's--any family's--life is not it's own.
The story of the Hanford family is a familiar one at first--sweet-spirited, quiet, gentle, loving Christian mother Miranda and her many sweet, ultra-obedient children. Who wouldn't want a family like hers? That's how many familiess start the "game." They see Family A and decide "I want what they have." For Miranda it began in Bible College after a chaotic childhood. She meets Carl and is inspired by the apparent deep Faith he uses to guide his life. Soon they have moved to the "safe" countryside and are birthing child after child, homeschooling and attending a family integrated church that supports their lifestyle.
Fast forward to the day that now widowed Miranda, with six children to support, falls during a walk and ends up in the hospital. Her world, formerly dominated by smarmy self-serving pastor Mason, is turned upside down as her late husband's almost unknown brother, Jack, arrives on the scene to care for the family. As Miranda recovers from her fall she also begins to recover from Pastor Mason's "guidance" and begins to see the world she and Carl created for their family thru new eyes. She begins to confront the past, present and future.
This book is nicely written, with believable characters. There is an unexpected "mystery" surrounding the family and a slight tinge of Norma Rae-ish "stand up for yourself"gumption in Miranda--or Randi as she was, and wants to again be, known. A few moments with the kids made me tear up. I could feel the soothing "cuddle quilt" around me, too. The love in this fictional family was very real.
Just read it when it comes out--ok? You won't be sorry. Give it to anyone who may be heading to the ballpark for a round of "Here Comes the Patriarch" instead of loving homeschooling.