thisread: The Lonely Polygamist

August 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Talk about “under the wire,” eh?  Even though it is technically the 1st of August, I began this post about a week ago so I am still going to call it July’s “thisread:,” mmmmk?  I intend to keep my promise of monthly book reports, but my true procrastinator comes out at times, unfortunately.

But let me tell you- The Lonely Polygamist was worth the wait.

I do have to make a little disclaimer before we go any further: my feelings for this book do not translate into my feelings on polygamy.  Yes, I may have a healthy curiosity about it, much like I’m curious about how people enjoy carbonated beverages or why dogs are carried in purses.  Sometimes things intrigue you without requiring you to exalt your position on them (i.e. if you wanna chat about the theology of it all, hit me up here’cause that would be super fun). Just wanted to clear that up. 

But back to business.

This is a hefty book, which is the only reason why it ended up on my reading list alone rather than as my book club pick many months ago (for which the gals are grateful, I’m sure, as I had previously picked another book on polygamy as our inaugural read. Like I said -healthy curiosity).  The commitment it demanded is one I gladly gave, as I carried it with me everywhere like a talisman able to always make me happy, and I was sad to see it end (you know the kind of books I’m talking about).  Even if the subject of polygamy is the last thing that interests you, I highly encourage you to give it a chance for Brady Udall alone.  You’d be challenged to find his simile rival-“…we were crammed in the small car like astronauts”- when they make you want to stop and delightedly share them with a stranger. 

The narration follows three lives -the father, Wife #4, and one of the children- and Udall’s ability to seamlessly navigate each story is impressive and reminiscent of  The Poisonwood Bible (another favorite and must-read if we are to be friends).   He makes you care.  Every perspective is valuable and you find yourself having compassion for opposite sides, desiring each person to get what they want even if it means hurting the other.  And when the story takes a few random turns  that make you wonder where he came up with that one, you’d still follow Udall anywhere.  He reminds me of a male Jodi Picoult (stay with me here, gentlemen) without the criminal justice, high drama, or shameless exploitation of emotions.  Their similarities lie in their brilliant control over setting a scene and completely developing depth and humanity to characters that you want to eat up like a perfectly baked pie. 

Alright.  Maybe I’ve gotten a little carried away. I am now comparing characters to pie.   And I could probably keep going.  Trust me- you won’t be disappointed by this book.  I couldn’t give an author more praise for a wonderfully character-driven novel on a pretty controversial topic.  I’m jealous you get to read it for the first time.  🙂

Rating: one big pie                        Another Good Read: The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint


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