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February 19, 2013 / ljbradburn-Smith

The Lonely Polygamist

The lonely polygamist

I was drawn to this book, by Brady Udall, firstly because it is a subject that really interests me. Being a one-man woman makes me wonder how people can share a husband/wife and if it ever really works. Although some argue that humans aren’t monogamous, by nature, society often dictates otherwise and this book explores the jealousy, rivalry and loneliness that this kind of polygamous lifestyle can result in.

The plot follows Golden Richards who has four wives and twenty-eight children. It explores the love he has for each of his wives and how they feel about each other. The main problems in the wives’ lives seem to arise from lack of attention, from the man they love, as he is shared between all four of them. It also impacts on the lives of his children and this novel explores the hierarchy between wives and children alike, with Rusty often taking centre stage, in his fight for attention, and perhaps as a parallel with the lost soul that Golden appears to be as an adult and an apparent role model. Meanwhile Golden is grieving from the death of his daughter and struggling to cope with the demands of all of the people in his life. As a result he ends up embarking on an affair whilst he is away building a brothel.

Udall tells his story with both humour and sadness, creating a rather disheveled, downtrodden character, in Golden, that readers are sure to both sympathise with and despair of at times. The Lonely Polygamist is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking and is well worth a read.

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