The 19th Wife

From Sandi Rosenthal

Title:  The 19th Wife 

Author:  David Ebershoff

I really enjoyed this book.

The author told two tales a hundred years apart, both stories relate to each other.  One story is based on the life of Anne Eliza Webb, the 19th wife of Brigham Young, one of the first leaders of the Mormon church, and a second fictional story of a modern day cult of polygamists.

This book is about polygamy, is so interesting and so well written, I couldn’t put it down.


The 19th Wife

From Margaret Mezzacapo
Author: David Ebershoff
Title: The 19th Wife
Here is another story (reference “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer) of Mormon culture and the development of the Mormon faith, including the schism that develops between mainline Mormons and the fundamentalists who break away. The story switches between the 19th century in Mormon culture and a fictional murder occurring in the present day in a fundamentalist community. Both storylines are well developed with empathetic characters, contributing to an engrossing read.

Lost Boy

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Brent W. Jeffs
 Lost Boy

Lost Boy is a fascinating but horrifying account of life as a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, known a FLDS, a polygamist sect that broke off from mainstream Mormonism.

Brent is the nephew of Warren Jeffs, the jailed “prophet” of the group and the grandson of former ”prophet” Ruland Jeffs.  Brent shows how it is not only the girls and women who suffer in this lifestyle, but also the boys, many of whom were sexually abused, and pushed out as they got older so that the young girls could be given to the prophet and older men  who were in his favor.

Warren Jeffs, a sexual pervert, seized more and more power  till he had total control.  Everyone lived in fear that if they disobeyed any of the arbitrary rules, they would not only lose their salvation,  they would lose their homes and family.  Jeffs, who arranged every marriage, could take wives and children from a man and assign them to someone else.  He could take away homes.

Many of the boys who left, either because they were forced out or because of the miserable circumstances,  were ill-equipped to handle the outside world and became addicted to drugs and alcohol.  The author lost 2 brothers -one committed suicide and the other died of an overdose that may have been intentional.  The author also resorted to drugs, suffering greatly from repressed memories of the sexual abuse he endured as a child from his uncle. Brent eventually initiated the legal action against his uncle.

The book presents all too clearly the dangers of absolute power.  You wonder why people would stay and live under such conditions, but Brent Jeffs shows exactly how people can be brainwashed little by little until they can no longer think for themselves.


The Lonely Polygamist

From Rita Gross
author: Udall, Brady
The Lonely Polygamist
Golden Richards has four wives, twenty eight children, three homes, a failing business and a major mid-life crisis. Just multiply the entanglements of the usual American family novel by the power of four (at least), and you will have the depths of the problems that Golden Richards encounters. The story is told from the point of view of Golden, one wife, one child and a narrative voice. Sad and funny, it is a look inside an atypical way of life.