Monday, March 08, 2010

LONELY POLYGAMIST by Brady Udall


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

This book grabbed me from the very beginning.  Not only does it have an intriguing and somewhat amusing title but I also enjoyed the Mad Men-esque cover.  THE LONELY POLYGAMIST follows the stories of three members of the Golden Richards family. Golden Richards is the family patriarch.  He is the husband to four wives, the father to scores of children and the owner of a construction company. Rusty Richards is Golden's fifth son by his third wife. Trish Richards is Golden's fourth wife.  The story is told from the perspective of each of these individuals.  Golden is facing a crisis.  The course of his whole life has been determined by others and he never exercises any real free will. Until now. While away from his family building a brothel in the desert in order to save his family from financial ruin, Golden falls in love with a strange quiet woman named Huila.  His son Rusty is dealing with his own crisis. Rusty is a misunderstood child who feels lost in his larger-than-life family. Branded the family pervert, Rusty struggles to deal with his burgeoning sexuality while trying to get some sort of attention from the people around him.  Golden's wife Trish feels terribly alone in the midst of all these people. Having struggled with multiple miscarriages and stillbirths, Trish feels set apart from the rest of the family and at a loss to discover what she really wants.

At first glance, this book appears to be Golden's story.  He is the Lonely Polygamist. But he isn't the only one.  Trish and Rusty are both lonely polygamists as well.  Each of the threads of this story reveal three very lonely people trying to find a way to fit in and make peace with their lives. It is a sad and tragic story that also has moments of grace, humor and beauty. 550 pages did not seem enough to truly cover this tale.  I had a hard time putting it down and then wished for more at the end.

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended.  A lovely and sad book about the loneliness, alienation and disconnection that we can all feel no matter how many people we live with.

4 comments:

Hannah Stoneham said...

I love the title! Looking forward to hearing about the book...

Hannah

Sarah B. said...

Hmmm... Reminding me of the plot of Big Love in several ways - will have to check this one out!!

Marie said...

Great review. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really want to read it toO!

Amy said...

Hannah--The title definitely drew me to it.

Sarah--We are BIG LOVE fans in my house so this book fell right into line with that. It seems like polygamy is everywhere these days! To be honest, there are days when I could really use a sister-wife.

Marie--Thank you! I would really love to see you write a review about it.

-Amy