Colorado Springs, Colo. – Author Meg Moseley spent more than 20 years home schooling her three children and saw the benefits firsthand of overseeing their education. However, she also witnessed some Christian households where women were controlled by husbands who dictated everything from clothing and hair styles to reading choices and political beliefs.
In When Sparrows Fall (Multnomah, May 3, 2011) Moseley’s main character, Miranda, a wife and mother of six, is caught in a restrictive life until her husband dies suddenly. Two years later, after deciding to break away from a conservative church community that is more oppressive than nurturing, she is injured in a fall. Her brother-in-law, Jack, arrives not only to take care of the children but also to reintroduce Miranda and her family to an independent lifestyle where they can serve God in freedom.
Jack also gives Miranda the courage to break free from a controlling pastor who hangs a secret over her head but also has his own scandal brewing. Her decision to confront the past and move forward allows her oldest son to deal with a suppressed past tragedy that has caused the young boy to be distrustful and angry.
Moseley’s experience with home schooling gives her a unique view of the Christian practice of “quiverfull,” where patriarchal hierarchy and highly conservative ideals provide for a tightly-controlled environment for women and their ever-growing number of children. Online groups such as “Quivering Daughters” share the stories of those who have emerged from such lifestyles.
First I'm going to start with the homeschooling part of the book. I homeschooled my 3 daughters for 7 years and loved every minute of it. Homeschooling is suppose to provide a unique learning environment where children can learn, and have fun doing it. In our home my girls learned their fractions by cooking, their history by reading books not a text book, multiplication with legos. We grew butterflies, frogs, praying mantises. While I had children in different grade levels because I only had 3 to school I was able to spend more time with them and they learned at a rapid pace.Regarding the highly conservative ideals, and tightly -controlled environment. Sadly this can be present in some areas of the homeschooling movement but it is not common. It is however really common in Christian marriages across the country. I know that may be a bitter pill to swallow but it is true. I just finished training to be a victim advocate and the statistics for abused women in church is that 1 in every 4 women is being abused by their spouse or partner. When they bring it to a clergy, or deacon and they will tell her to pray it away, read scripture, there is not usually any offer of aide to get her to a safe place or aide her in reporting.
This book touched a chord in me as a woman who was in an abusive relationship, whose former husband used scripture to get me to do what he wanted me to do because he knew that my relationship with God was so important to me. While I know homeschoolers will be upset at the negative slant on homeschooling which I don't see it as that, I see it as showing that anything good can be made evil if people aren't following God. Personally, I see this book as a break through for women who are being abused by men in the Christian circle that their are people out there that care and want to help them find a way out.