Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in Polygamy
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Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in Polygamy

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  229 ratings  ·  47 reviews
The abduction of teenager Elizabeth Smart by a fundamentalist Mormon preacher placed a renewed focus on renegade offshoots of the Church of Latter Day Saints and the culture surrounding the religion in the state of Utah (which, like the church, formally opposes polygamous marriage, though state and religious leaders both seem well aware that the practice continues, and the...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published July 17th 2003 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published June 30th 2003)
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I've only read one other memoir/autobiographical book written about the polygamist lifestyle. It was also written from the perspective of a woman who grew up in one branch/sect of fundamentalist Mormonism. I must admit that I find the subject utterly fascinating. I also have to admit that Solomon's book stood out to me, when it was compared to other books and documentaries on the same subject. Unlike other sources I've seen or read, Solomon did not experience first-hand many of the more commonly...more
I recently read this book again. I wish Joseph Smith hadn't been born. This sort of thing is his fault. Folks living in polygamy with tons of children, deprived of the food and their father's presence. I know that the writer tended to portray it, at least at the beginning in a warm, happy way. She's one of dozens of children running around in some wilderness that seems fresh out of Little House on the Prarie with more wives.
But from this book and other books I've read on the subject, you realiz...more
Soloman's memoir of growing up in a polygamist family is strangely touching and still unquestionably horrifying. She speaks at length about her mother and the other 6 "sister-wives", describing their living arrangements and jealousies. She recounts how her family was repeatedly divided and moved around, essentially being hidden, each time there was a threat of a polygamy raid. She details awful time periods of extreme poverty and unlivable conditions.

But she truly loved her father, the patriarch...more
In this revealing memoir, the author tells her story of growing up in polygamy. She describes her family's history in the Mormon religion and polygamy, how polygamy was outlawed in the US, and yet, through studying the Mormon scriptures, her father decided that living according to the Principal of polygamy was what their religion dictates. When she was growing up, her father had 7 wives and they had to move often due to religious persecution. Her father and some of her mothers were put in jail f...more
Anne Rasset
I knew a little about polygamy (the Church of Latter-Day Saints variety) going into this book, mostly from blog posts I happened upon from former polygamists/people born into polygamist families, articles, or by watching Sister Wives, which I realize may not be the most accurate portrayal of all polygamist communities. Solomon's memoir, Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in Polygamy, gives a view that mixes the good with the bad and history with personal remembrances. I have to admit...more
Veronica Olson
I didn't enjoy her writing very much, but the fascinating story made it worth reading. I couldn't put it down. It goes through her Fundamentalist upbringing in a polygamous family, that family's murky past, and her eventual decision of monogamy and to become a member of the official church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons), despite the disapproval of many of her extremist polygamous relatives. Very honest and truthful, despite a hard story to tell.
I was amazed by this book, probably because her great-grandfather and my great-great grandfather are the same person. There was so much in here about my family that I never knew, mainly because we broke off from polygamy a few generations ago. I laughed, I cried, I was angry and I felt sad. True gauntlet of emotions. Wonderful!
It was hard to follow sometimes because there were so many characters and storylines, but it was a very interesting, well written autobiography/history of polygamy.
I will never forgive her father for taking away his son's venison and handing it over to some fat, already fed enough dude! Urg! More later.
In the final pages of this book the author, Dorothy Solomon, insinuates that she had originally conceived the book as a novel, but her father encouraged her to write it as "biography, based in reality."

The result is a fascinating, but fragmented family odyssey. The book is slow-moving in the beginning, then picks up momentum, only to be bogged down with excessive historical narrative.

Solomon is at her best when she's conveying the complex family dynamics of a 7-wife polygamous family she was ra...more
This is a memoir, of sorts, written by Dorothy Allred Solomon, daughter of one of the more influential men within the Latter Day Saints church. She describes her life as the child of one of the many sister-wives, starting off by explaining how things were, how each family unit worked together as a whole. Her memories of the time her father spent with her and her siblings, of the sister-wives and the special bonds they shared, her witness to the interaction between the sister-wives. As the book p...more
This was a very interesting memoir written by a woman who is the 28th of 48 children of one male polygamist in Utah. It was certainly surprising to read about their many hardships in carrying out their lifestyle. Perhaps those more familiar with the reality and fictional television shows on polygamy will not be as shocked, but I am not a fan of those type of shows, so I found a lot of the information conveyed in this memoir to be completely new. In fact, when I initially picked this book up in t...more
I really liked this book, but then it answered so many questions I've always wondered about polygamous families and how women could share a husband. I'm not the sharing kind, but I have ancestors that lived it. I appreciated how Solomon--who grew up in a Fundamentalist group but left it for a monogomous relationship and the official Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints--shared her life with us, the courage it took her to write her family's stories, the good ones and the bad, and how she w...more
This book was very interesting. It seems to suffer, however, from a lack of literary flow. Since it is a biography of sorts, I suppose that is to be expected. In my opinion, the first 3/4ths of the book suffered from a lack of continuity. Too many snippets, not enough flow.

Perhaps the book would have been easier to read if each chapter was written as a separate story of one person in Mrs. Solomon's family instead of mashing them together. Since the book's topic is polygamy, I suppose that's par...more
I became interested in the world of polygamy after my brother and sister-in-law moved to Zion National Park with the National Park Service. On a visit to their home in Hurricane with side trips to St. George, I became so adept at spotting sister wives that they threatened to put an M & M in my mouth as a reward when I muttered, "Sister wife at three o'clock" in the middle of the supermarket. This book by Dorothy Allred Solomon is a memoir of growing up within a polygamist family in a polygam...more
So far it is a bit of a slow start--- trying to make the case that multiple wives are jealous of each other--- not terribly shocking or intriguing yet--- but I will give it some more time.

The whole middle seems to focus on a description of Mormon history and family geneology that was just WAY too much detail for me. I got bored and skipped towards the last third, which returns to a memoir style that is more "human interest" and more fascinating to me.

Though I liked this book, I skimmed a great...more
Susan Bazzett-griffith
Unlike a lot of other memoirs I've read about women who grew up in polygamy, Dorothy Allred Solomon writes with beauty and exceptional talent in her prose. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though I wasn't sure I would in the beginning. My one complaint would be that the first part of the book which details her family's ancestral history back several generations seemed too long; however, the way she returns to some of the imagery and sentiments expressed in that portion of the book at the end of h...more
Sharon Murphy
Another accounting of polygamy, I just can't seem to not read about the subject. Dorothy Soloman is raised in a polygist family in Salt Lake City, and then moved around the country to avoid detection. Many times her siblings and her mother are forced to "dumpster dive" for food. Her father moves the family to Montana and expects them to survive the winter on just carrots. That was the only food he provided for them. When she is old enough she separates herself from the polygamist family and marr...more
Gayle Martin
I have read and re-read this book at least three times. The polygamist style of life is very fascinating to me. The story is truly a sad one, especially for the women and children; however, Solomon talked highly of her family and devoted love, still, for them. The book can be difficult to get into because of the history at the beginning of the book and all of the different people involved, but that needed to be explained in order to write the rest of the story. I think the book was well written...more
This is one of those "here's what happened" autobiographies. Does that make sense? It has an impersonal tone that I wasn't expecting from reading the blurb. A large portion of the book is given over to the story of Allred Solomon's more distant ancestors struggling to live the principle of plural marriage.

It is also important to note that it's different from other fundamentalist Mormon biography in that Allred Solomon does not completely turn away in bitterness - she has many happy memories of h...more
Very interesting. I feel this book was very objective in the telling of a life in polygamy, as she remembers it. I have seen beauty and light in a religious community and horror and darkness in unrighteous dominion. She wrote this book like a confession, as if you are talking to her and it reads very personally. She did spell the Prophet's name wrong (Gordon B. Hinckley's) and that really bothered me and knocked my rating down a bit, but answers questions about general polygamy practices.
Zzzzzzz......there are lots of polygamy stories out there these days. I found this one to be a snoozer. Didn't actually even finish it.
Nancy O
A thoughtful memoir of growing up in a polygamous family. Unlike Carolyn Jessop's book Escape, there are few easy villains or heroes in this complicated story of self-discovery. The author ultimately grew away from the FLDS community with its doctrine of plural marriage but paints an affectionate picture of her father, her mothers, and her siblings while acknowledging the hardships they all suffered as a result of the commitment to a way of life long outlawed by the state of Utah.
I liked this book, but I kept feeling a little confused about what it was as I was reading. The center section of this book is a lovely memoir with a haunting narrative voice. But to me the book felt like several manuscripts put together. In the first half of the book I felt bogged down in the details of the history of the Mormon church and the marriages of the grandparents and aunts and so on, and put the book down for a couple of weeks.
Jul 25, 2011 Tori added it
2008- I agree with another reviewer who said they felt like this was a few books combined together. I felt like first part was family history, the next few sections talked about her life, and the last section seemed to be all the ""bad stuff"" she left out of personal history but realized later that she should really add this stuff in. Not a horrible book, but I think some of the more recent books on polygamy seem to be more honest.
It was an interesting point of view of polygamy. I think her father knew that other men practicing polygamy were marrying girls under 18. In fact, he married (spiritually) at least one girl under 18. It is sad that this man's choice to practice polygamy effected so many. Lives. Hiding, lying, moving often. I personally wouldn't want to live that life. It was well written and the author kept me interested.
Dale Stonehouse
Solomon beat the rush of Mormon abused wives trapped in polygamy and did a better job of personalizing it without as much demonization of the beliefs and those who live them. After all, there is some blame in this for everyone, including those who blindly believe what they are told and never question those beliefs. As with any dogmatic theology, the temptation for the lazy is to let others think for them.
Initially, I was very interested in this book. I love to read about history, and the topic of polygamy seemed unique. However, I found the writing style of Mrs. Solomon to be very plain and unsophisticated. This is both a pro and a con to me. The book progressed very slowly and humbly. Her words were honest, but uneventful. Overall, the book was informative, but I did not really enjoy the journey.
If you are interested in the different splinter groups of polygamy in Utah you will enjoy this book. She does a good job of trying to weigh the good and the bad of her experience. Her family seemed very believable. The book is divided into thirds so be prepared for the background of polygamy, her happy childhood memories and the the darker side. I found it compelling.
As I read this book, I struggled to understand how this could be going on in the United States of America. The abuse and threats, the kidnapping was unbelievable. More people need to read this stuff so they can see what Americans in this country who are supposed to be free are putting up with. It was an eye-opener!
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