The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

My first question, when I read the synopsis for this book was:  How does a polygamist have an affair?  Is it even possible?  Even after reading this book, I’m still not sure of the answer.  Sure, the secrecy, the guilt, are there, but, still, I idea doesn’t really compute. 

I don’t mean to offend anyone, but, personally, I don’t have a problem with polygamy as long as the parties are consenting adults (emphasis on both words) and if it is an equal opportunity deal.  Meaning, I think that if a man is allowed to have more than one wife, and woman should be able to take more than one husband.  Or even a marriage between two men, to each other, and a woman to them both.  To me, what goes on within the privacy of the home between consenting adults is none of my business.  I wouldn’t do it, but that’s just me.

Anyway, getting off my soapbox and going back to the book:

It to a few chapters for Udall’s writing style to grow on my, but, then, the story hooked me.  The complicated layers and conflicts of any family are legion, even more so for large families.  And that, for me, is the message of this book.  This particular family has one father, 4 mothers, and eighteen children, but the similarities between Golden’s childhood and Rusty’s are hard to miss.  And his wives have the same feelings and thoughts as his own mother when she was abandoned in Louisiana.  Each of the wives reflects some facet of his mother, and he makes many of the same mistakes his father made, leaving his son to feel the same sense of loneliness and frustration he suffered throughout his childhood.

The Lonely Polygamist is a wonderful, though-provoking read. My only true disappointment was that Tracy did not take Rose’s advice.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars


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