“None of us have ever asked the men for anything, Agata states. Not a single thing, not even for the salt to be passed, not even for a penny or a moment alone or to take the washing in or to open a curtain or to go easy on the small yearlings or to put your hand on the small of my back as I try, again for the twelfth or thirteenth time, to push a baby out of my body… how would you feel if in your entire lifetime it never mattered what you thought?”
If you want a story, this is not it. Told in a similar style to that of “Animal Farm,” “Women Talking” is written in meeting minute form, describing meetings that occur over the span of two days. Several men have been caught drugging and then assaulting women in the Mennonite colony, and admit it has been going on for years. And so the women grapple: if their faith is all they know, are they breaking faith by breaking with their husbands? What if that faith is based on what those husbands have told you, rather than what you have read, as women are forbidden to read or write? What is free will? What does God think of that free will, even if it may go against what they have been told their faith dictates? A quick read, and a timely one, as many of us also grapple with knowing what is best for us, what is best for the group, what we should or should not do, and what free will really boils down to. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 stars. I hope this makes it onto a school reading list some day.
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