Book Twentyeight: The Lonely Polygamist

The Lonely Polygamist, Brady Udall

Oh, this was so very good. So yeah, I'm perhaps a wee bit obsessed with Mormons, especially of the fundamentalist/polygamist variety, but beyond that, this is just really good writing and a really good story. See, Golden Richards has four wives and 28 children and, as the title suggests, things are not going well. Golden is slightly pathetic, has no control over his family, no insight into his wives' happiness, no ability to manage his construction business, and worst of all, the inability to make any good decisions... so you can guess that his life starts to spiral out of control. We get to see things not only from Golden's perspective, but also from his wives and one of his most troubled kids. In fact, the story told from 11-year-old Rusty's perspective was my favorite. The constant shifting of both character and style is intriguing, with lots of flashbacks and changing stories. It's funny and silly and horrifying and awful and depressing and uplifting, all at the same time.

I wish it had ended with more of a bang... well, it does end with a literal bang (peppered throughout with lots of little bangs, too), but I wanted a little more from it. It felt a little too much like, "Oh well, guess I hit 600 pages. Time to wrap this sucker up!"


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