In the subgenre I call religious cult dystopia I have not yet
met the novel I don't fall in love with. I think this is because they
tend to be authentic both plausibly and emotionally. The authors
create worlds that are just a little beyond what one sees in cults and
even some churches. The feelings of the protagonists as they inhabit
and then are pushed out of their comfort zones are ones we can all
relate to despite differences in circumstances. Lisa Heathfield's
Seed is a real gem in this category.
Pearl (15) has spent all her life in a self contained
agricultural community called Seed. The group is centered around the
worship of Nature, a being that will provide them with all they need.
There are many rules and rituals, all overseen by patriarch Papa S who
punishes anyone who dares disobey. Children are raised communally and
relationships are anything but monogamous. Pearl very much enjoys her
life, abundant in simple pleasures. Of course she has known nothing
Pearl's contact with non Seed people has been limited to selling
them vegetables and crafts at a market. All she sees there enforces
her fear of the outside world and her conviction that she is only
truly safe at Seed. But all that is about to change. A family of
outsiders is accepted into the community, a family that includes an
intriguing boy close to her in age.
I consider Seed an enchanting and thought provoking summer read
for both young adults and adult adults.
On a personal note, recently Eugene and I went to his uncle and
aunt's 40th anniversary party. It was a very nice event and quite an
interesting mix of people. Eugene and I are only days away from our
26th. But I have a 40th anniversary coming up--me and the Red Cross.
Four decades of donating blood. My mother tried to talk me out of my
first time. She went with me and was so stressed she almost fainted.
A nurse told me, "You did just fine. But next time could you leave
your mother at home?". Now my son is a regular donor. How cool is that?
A great big shout goes out to the Red Cross and all my fellow blood
Julia Emily Hathaway
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