This book is: brutally well written.
Other elements: Jehovah’s Witnesses, what it’s like to grow up in a very religious family, depression, being different, sister relationships.
Read it: if you love “the family next-door isn’t so normal after all” stories.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
Watch How We Walk is the story of a Emily, a young woman living on her own in a city for the first time. The book alternates in time between older and younger versions Emily: the first, rapidly becoming disillusioned with her family’s rigid Jehovah’s Witness lifestyle; and the second, trying to figure out how to live without it.
Emily’s strict childhood was a rotation of church mandated lessons and activities, so overarching that, in one poignant scene, the reader sees young Emily reenacting religious services with her stuffed animals as a form of playing. When Emily the child first notices her old sister rebelling against their family’s ways, she’s shocked and horrified. In the flash-forwards to Emily of the future, it’s clear to the reader that she’s cut all ties with her family and her church. As both stories develop in parallel story arcs, the reader learns what cause the young Emily to finally decide to leave her family and see what it will take for the older Emily to truly strike out on her own.
I found this book fascinating. It’s very well written. the characters are complex and well written; LoveGrove manages to portray several individuals’ relationships to a demanding religious group without falling into simple cliché. She also manages to capture both Emily and her sister at multiple ages and writes in the voices of both older and younger Emily with chilling finesse.
Trigger warning: this book includes vivid descriptions of self-harm.
My thanks to NetGalley and ECW Press for providing me with a copy of this book for review.