I listened to this book as an audio book, so my experience may differ from other readers' experience.
I am not Mormon. However, coincidentally I finishI listened to this book as an audio book, so my experience may differ from other readers' experience.
I am not Mormon. However, coincidentally I finished this book the day before I flew out to visit my LDS Mormon friend who lives in Provo, UT. So, I was able to tell her a bit about the book and ask her some questions about the religion and the historical people in the book.
I found this book to be very interesting. Having a close Mormon friend for the past 10+ years, I knew a bit about the Mormon religion before reading the book and that LDS members do not practice polygamy and are excommunicated if they are found to be doing so.
I liked the switching back and forth between the past story with Ann Eliza and the present story; it was a bit confusing at times, but enjoyable. I also liked how the author took what I'm assuming is as true of a story as he could put together about Ann Eliza and parallel it to a more modern twist. The documents were interesting pieces as well.
The modern side of the story deals with the son of a plural marriage wife accused of murdering her husband. The son was kicked out of the church 10? years ago and he hasn't come back since...until now when he heard about the murder. What was really interesting about his story was how he kept emphasizing that outside observers cannot really judge the practices that people are born into. While the outside world may see plural marriage as horrible and strange and just plain wrong, the people who are born into it know nothing else. They life in a bubble and are told that if they don't do/practice XYZ then they will not go to heaven/be with their family in the next life. So, you do it, because that's what everyone else around you believes and practices. These different points when he talked about this were interesting to me and made me think about other people around me - religious or not - and how everyone is different and *knows* different ways of living and customs.
The modern story was a bit harsh with the language at times. I'm not one to care about language, nor do I care in the least that the son is gay, but the swearing seemed to come out of nowhere and didn't seem to fit his character. It's as if they were thrown in there for effect sometimes, and unnecessary. And I know that if I wanted my Mormon friend to read this book, she'd have to work hard to get around the swearing - which makes me think that for some reason the author wrote a book about a sect of the Mormon religion but made it so that Mormons can't/won't read because of the swearing. I guess if I wrote a story about a group of people, I would want them to read and critique it. Oh well.
So, if you are very opposed to swearing, don't read this. Also, if you are very opposed to plural marriage (fictional or not) don't read this. But, if you have an open mind about all different practices and religions of people and polygamy has always fascinated you (as it has me) you may enjoy this book....more