Matthew's Reviews > The Lonely Polygamist

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
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Jun 13, 10

Read in June, 2010

"Safety in numbers ain't no such thing." So says Sheriff Frontera to the bumbling but lovable Golden Richards in Brady Udall's tragically comic new novel The Lonely Polygamist. When I tried telling people about this book and how good it was, they couldn't get past the title. How could someone be lonely if they have four wives and an overabundance of kids? In Udall's story he tackles this head scratching title and does it in a hilarious at times sad, but ultimately uplifting ways. There was so so many ways this novel could go wrong. Our hero Golden could come off as a weirdo polygamist who is unhappy with his life cheats(if that's possible) on his wives and neglects his many children. Udall, however, balances the tone and structure of the story in such an interesting and readable manner. No one is indicted in this story. Each character regardless of the comedy that Udall invokes remains solid with such depth and dimension that the reader can understand and relate to. It sounds weird that anyone can relate to a polygamist family with one husband and four wives, but at it's core their problems become our problems. Many of the issues Udall grapples with our universal to the modern family, like balancing work, family, money issues, unruly children, the loss of loosing a child, and the pains of going through a midlife crisis. I loved reading this novel. Anxiously turning the page to see what would happen next. Udall centers on the loneliest members of the family like Golden, his wife Trish, his other wife Rose, and my favorite character; his son Rusty. All of these characters are highly comic, but also intimately human. Rusty conveys everything an awkward 11 and a half year old boy goes through in understanding life. Nicknamed "the family terrorist" we follow Rusty on his quest to find inclusion. In many ways he reminded me of Alexander from my favorite childhood book Alexander and the Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. Like Alexander Rusty wishes for a new life. One where he can be accepted for who he is, find a family he can fit in to. His story, like Golden's is both heartfelt and hilarious. In the end I am glad to have read this book and will cherish the characters I encountered along the way.
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