The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall

Compared to the previous two Fundamentalist LDS book I just read this was a really interesting comparison.  Where the others are cult-like with the father a fearsome male patriarch and the women browbeaten, this portrayal is more like “Big Love” in that it shows Golden as a harried husband dealing with the demands of 4 wives and 28 children and it doesn’t seem that great of a life for him.  As the book went on, though, my feelings for Golden changed. First I thought him a sort of happy go lucky idiot, then I thought him a bad father.  Then I found him to be a sympathetic character in that he was a weak man, God fearing, hoping to to just make it to Heaven and be with his beloved recently deceased daughter.

There was definitely a lot going on in this book and it certainly had many storylines I would not have expected.  While it is about Golden and his isolation despite his large family, I think the “lonely polygamist” could also refer to his son, Rusty, who is basically an outcast among the other children and wives.  Rusty’s story is a sad one, and pretty disturbing, too.  There are a whole bunch of other curious subplots, bizarre characters, and occasionally unusual narrators.  It all adds up to a great big book of a fascinating story.

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