Quiverfull by Kathryn Joyce

Read: 10 August, 2009

Joyce examines not so much the Quiverfull movement as she does the Christian Patriarchy movement – Quiverfull, of course, being one component of it. The Patriarchy movement centres around the belief that feminism has caused a number of social ills that can be remedied only by having women leave the workforce and return home to be submissive wives and mothers. Quiverfull is the added belief that all attempts to limit the number of children a family has is an insult to God (the most famous practitioners being the Duggar family with their eighteen – and counting – children).

Joyce’s analysis is mostly uncritical, her own feelings only rarely show through and, then, introduced explicitly as her own views. Her style is to simply narrate with few adjectives the views of her subjects and allowing them to speak for themselves.

Despite her fairness, Joyce’s writing style leaves something to be desired. Her sentences are so long and cover so many different ideas at once that I frequently found myself having to go back and read again. This interrupted the flow of my reading and, therefore, diminished the power of Joyce’s writing. The organization of the book seems to be haphazard with ideas coming at the reader from every direction. If any transitions are present, they are surely feeling very lonely.

Stylistic elements aside, this was a fabulous book filled with information on a movement that has, for the most part, remained outside the mainstream West’s awareness. I highly recommend it for all readers interested in religion and what is happening under the surface in Christian extremism.

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