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Favorite Wife: Escape from Polygamy
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Favorite Wife: Escape from Polygamy

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  2,503 ratings  ·  271 reviews
A riveting memoir of life inside one of North America's most notorious polygamous cults.
ebook, 416 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Globe Pequot Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Beth
Sadly, while this story is remarkable, the writing is not. Susan Ray Schmidt's account of her life as part of Colonia LeBaron, plural-wife to one of the infamous LeBaron brothers, has all the elements of a juicy memoir. She is right in the midst of the warring fundamentalist polygamist communities, and her time with the LeBarons spans some fascinating, dark, real-life stories. Unfortunately, Schmidt tends to quickly gloss over the more interesting historical incidents and spend a good deal of ti ...more
Melanie
I really enjoyed this book. From the minute I opened it up I could not put it down. I stayed up way too late at night because I wanted to see what was going to happen next. I would often find myself just thinking about this girl and her life and was eager until I could sit down next and read what was going to happen.
The way the Author, Susan Ray Schmidt, portrayed the life of polygamy was amazing. I took away an understand of why polygamy is important to the fundamentalist Mormon people, and und
...more
Kartika
I don't know a lot about polygamy. I know a little more now. What I did know before reading this book is that it the lifestyle didn't interest me, however it did make me wonder. Having read this account, I know this gal couldn't have tolerated the experience. Not for anything. I found tho, that I may be interested in reading a book by Susan Schmidt's sister wife, Irene, as it would give a different point of view of the same situation from one of the sisters that I thought was portrayed as a stro ...more
Heather
His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy fascinated and repulsed me, a combination that makes for a compelling read. Knowing the book tells a true story drove the fascination/repulsion. I am interested in reading one of the other books the author lists in the epilogue to learn more.

About the book: Susan Ray Schmidt is a descriptive author. I was there with her in the colonies through her anguish and gratitude. I felt her love and anger and turmoil.

While I acknowledge that the book is but one persp
...more
Kate
I wanted to educate myself to the world of Polygamy. This is a true story about a group of Mormons who broke away from the church in Utah in the early 70's and went to Mexico to start a cult called The Lambs of God. The book did go on an on sometimes, but I looked everything up and all of it was true. Story about 14 year old Susanna Ray who was married at the age of 14 to someone at least 20 years older. She was his fifth wife. By the time she was 23 with 5 kids her husband was on Wife No. 12 wi ...more
Ashley Hoopes
This is the true story of a woman's experience of being the "favorite wife" of her fundamentalist mormon polygamist husband. It was pretty eye opening for me to see what it's like to live in a fundamentalist community with religious leaders who claim to be receiving personal revelation from God on a daily basis, especially when the bulk of their revelation has to do with which 14 year old God has commanded them to marry.

This darling girl was a true believer who would do whatever was asked of her
...more
Patti
The first 100 pages are extremely uncomfortable. Susan takes you back to the mindset of an innocent 14 year old girl and it reads like my junior high diary full of "Does he like me? Do I like him?" The main difference is, though, that the boys that are flirting and winking at Susan are actually grown men, old enough to be her father, and are doing it in the company of their current wives.

It is amazing to read about these women who are continually neglected and left to fend for themselves in, fi
...more
Sarah
What an interesting book! Having read so much about polygamy within the spin-off fundamentalist groups of the Latter Day Saints, I thought I had a pretty good grasp of the culture— or as much of an understanding as an outsider can really claim. Little did I know, the little group down in Mexico has so many differences!

I was surprised to discover that, in contrast with the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints in Arizona and Utah, those who followed the LeBaron family into Mexico after one of the ini
...more
Melissa
*Possible spoilers, but this is non-fiction.*

This was an interesting book. It offered a very different perspective from the other books on polygamy that I'd read.

Susan is a young girl growing up in a polygamous community in Mexico. She is very treasured by her family and when she as a dream at fourteen that reveals to her the identity of her future husband, it is readily accepted by all. So much in fact, that she marries him a year later. The man is Varlan, the brother of the prophet of their se
...more
Michelle Robinson
I had a hard time staying engaged with this narrative. I don't know if it is because I have read several books on this subject matter, the writing (which wasn't awful), or just because I was totally disgusted by Verlan and Ervil LeBaron's predatory way of "courting" these underaged girls. It just turned my stomach, as a mother of girls, I just felt so strongly that they were being groomed by pedophiles. Ugh, it was really hard for me to read all of the stuff that led up to her "marriage" and if ...more
Wesley
Very interesting story of a young woman growing up in a Mexican fundamentalist Mormon community. I found Susan Ray to be a fantastic narrator; not the best writer but not awful either. She slowly unwinds the history of the LeBaron clan's attempts to convert the masses and the eventual inner turmoil/philosophical differences that grew from them. Susan Ray's story plays out like an ill-conceived soap opera - romance, murder, polygamy, extreme poverty and contrasting wealth, exotic locations, sever ...more
Jennifer
I actually came across this book sitting on a table - picked it up to kill some time and couldn't put it down until I was done. As a Mormon I was intrigued by this group of people who have broken away from my faith, using the same scriptures, but who believe and interpret them very differently than I do (and by the way, spoiler alert - Mormon's are not polygamists, so if you think we are you need to educate yourselves. I also do not have horns or a tail, in case you were wondering). In a way thi ...more
Ange
My sister in law recommended this book to me and I am glad that I read it. It's the best book I have read that REALLY gives you a feel for what it would be like to to live in a community that practices polygamy, or to be in a polygamous marriage. The author's story is fascinating, filled with the kind of drama that only real life can produce. I was interested to know where the author is at in regards to religion now. From what I can gather on her website, it appears she might be Christian but n ...more
Jameya
I thought this book was great. Very well-written, engaging, honest and generally fascinating. I don't know HOW this woman was able to recall do much, but she did s helluva job bringing it all together and actually really making it feel like it was all happening to you! The story was so shocking in do many ways but amazing to know it's all true!

The last thing is, I felt this book to be SO good and interesting that I've already lined up at least five more just like it om my "to read" list. I reall
...more
Dayna
Despite the small font and cramped text on the pages, this book was awesome - I read it night and day until the last page. The author's first-person account of life in a polygamous group in Mexico was eye-opening in that it truly evoked the feelings of the author and drew me into what she was feeling as she survived her lifetime ordeal. Like a few other first-person accounts I've read recently, this is not a piece of literature by any means, but is an unforgettable account well worth reading.
Jordan
I must be sick because I am drawn to these books about polygamy, unusual families, and unconventional life styles. They fascinate me, and I am able to peek into a world (from a safe distance, of course) that I would never know otherwise. Susan is raised in a community where polygamy a normal occurrence, a living prophet exists, and the citizens don't seem to realize the poverty they live in.

The writing here is not going to impress anyone, but Susan's story is well told. Unlike the LDS church, wo
...more
Kavita
His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy is the fictionalised memoir of Susan Ray Schmidt, who escaped from the polygamous cult and made a new life for herself. This book offers a detailed and intimate portrayal of her personal life in a polygamous marriage, the cult’s inner workings, and the entire drama surrounding Ervil Lebaron’s murder spree.

First, let me get the quality of writing out of the way first. I was not looking for academic level perfection, but the writing was bad by any standards.
...more
Lolene
This book both appalled and fascinated me. I gave it two stars because I NEVER want to read it again. It was far too disturbing, even if it was absolutely truthful. It's the story of one of Verlan LeBaron's wives who eventually broke away from the horrid LeBaron family. They were all power-hungry, crazy, and deluded...but I read it to the bitter end, because I couldn't help myself. Read it at your own risk. It kept me up all night till I finished the darn thing.
Susan
Susan Ray has an interesting story to share about her life as a plural wife. However, this is so badly written, that it took me a long time to finish reading it. Her sister wife, Irene Spencer, also wrote a book about her experences. I may put Shattered Dreams,My Life as a Polygamist's Wife on my "to read" list. Maybe not. I had hoped to get a better understanding of polygamy by reading this book and I can't say that it was very helpful.
Krista
I thought it was an interesting book about the polygamous sect without a lot of physical abuse that some of the other polygamous have had in it. I found it sad that the husband really did not want anything to do with his children. He did really seem to just be interested in the intimate relationship from his wives. His family was living in severe poverty. I was really surprised that none of them were seriously ill.
Korey
3.5 stars. I prefer the Irene Spencer accounts of the LeBaron highjinks but this was still a good read. The prose was nothing special but the story itself is super interesting. Mormon fundamentalist compounds are endlessly fascinating to me, and the LeBaron were one of the craziest.
Lataun
Very interesting. Made me think about how easy it is to grow up and believe things because that's all you've ever known. And how courageous this woman was to question things and make a change on her own with 5 little kids. It had a lot of topics for discussion.
Patty Boone
Thought the story was very interesting. I have a friend that grew up in this cult. I'm completely intrigued by the lifestyle and escape from the cult.
Michelle lowe
This was a very good book. It explains a lot of polygamy from the eyes of a wife.
Shana
Dec 10, 2014 Shana rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love polygamy
Recommended to Shana by: Found at Powell's in Portland
I don't know what it is about polygamy that makes me want to read every book that's ever been written about it. Most of these books are pretty fascinating and this one did not disappoint. However, this is not a story about escaping from polygamy so much as it is about growing up in polygamy, coming of age in polygamy, marrying an older guy, being one of many wives, having a bunch of kids, living in poor conditions and then escaping from polygamy. (Sorry, I hope no one considers that "spoilers." ...more
Cfinn
I’m not one to usually read a lot of non-fiction, especially non-fiction about different religions. However, something struck me in this book, so I just had to read it. A friend of mine loaned me her copy, and after I finished it, I just had to buy my own copy to re-read later on. This was such a hard review to write, I’m not sure if it’s because I finished the book a few weeks ago, or that it’s nonfiction, but I didn’t want to give anything away that happens within the book.

It’s about the life
...more
Virginia
Even though she was a mature older woman when she wrote her memoir, Susan Ray Schmidt was able to capture all of the innocence, hope, angst, & irresistible near-sightedness of the fiery teenager she once was. I became fully engrossed in her story as she invites the reader into that dark & mysterious world of Mormon polygamy. She writes lovingly & compassionately of her former "sister-wives" and even of THE man she says will always hold a special place in her heart. It is not so much ...more
Marilyn
Another fascinating story on Polygamy. This is the sister wife of the gal who wrote. Stolen dreams. It is fun to see their different perspectives on the same husband. I had to go back and read some of the Stolen Dreams book again.

The jacket says:
She had no choice in the matter-none of the girls did. Her mission was to give birth to and raise many children in devoted service to a shared husband. Susan was fifteen years old when she became the sixth wife of Verlan LeBaron- one of the leaders of a
...more
Maggie
Susan Ray Schmidt was a plural wife of Verlan LeBarron - wife number five I think - it gets hard to keep track. A while ago I read Shattered Dreams by Irene Spencer who was the second plural wife of Verlan LeBarron. (She also wrote Blood Atonement which was really good.) I have to say that I really liked Shattered Dreams better than this book. It was faster paced maybe. Or maybe because I already knew a lot of the story from a different point of view, so I felt like this book progressed slower. ...more
Cherrybomb
Not as good as her sister wife's book, Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife. On it's own I would only give it three stars. However, it was more appealing after the above mentioned book so I gave it four.

The first half of this read is pretty boring. It's mostly about the author's early teen years at Colonia LeBaron. Nothing much happens. The second half of the book moves much more quickly and kept my interest better.

Although all the events in this book are true, the author took the l
...more
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Was Sue racist? 2 12 Apr 21, 2012 06:25PM  
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  • Daughters of Zion: A Family's Conversion to Polygamy
  • Secrets and Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy
  • When Men Become Gods: Mormon Polygamist Warren Jeffs, His Cult of Fear, and the Women Who Fought Back
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  • The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in a Polygamous Mormon Sect
  • Prophet's Prey: My Seven-Year Investigation into Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints
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  • Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God Cult
  • Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage
  • Keep Sweet: Children of Polygamy
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  • Prophet of Death: The Mormon Blood-Atonement Killings
  • Wife No. 19
  • The Sister Wife (Brides of Gabriel, #1)

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