I have always had a bit of a weakness for sprawling family dramas so when I read the cast of characters in this one, it was really always only a matter of time. The Lonely Polygamist tells the tale of Golden, a man with four wives and close to thirty children. And oh yes, he’s started having an affair with his boss’ wife. Yet, it’s not hard to have sympathy for him because this is a man crushed under the weight of a family grown beyond any possible management. Polygamy has always looked absolutely ghastly but this book really makes it seem like a bad option for a man – what sane man would want four wives badgering him constantly?
Golden’s loneliness is very believable; he never settles at home because he doesn’t get to sleep in the same bed two nights running, he doesn’t want to give too much attention to any individual wife because of the risk of provoking jealousy, then he daren’t show affection to any of his children for the same reason. The saddest part for me was the tragic tale of his late disabled daughter who he was able to love best because nobody would begrudge her that Daddy affection when her life was filled with such suffering. It was so painfully clear that certain of the other children, specifically eleven year-old Rusty, needed more love than they were being given and indeed as the plot develops, this inevitably leads to further tragedy. Rusty comes across as irritating and a definite ‘problem child’ but you still have enormous sympathy for him, he is just as much a lonely polygamist as his father.
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Published by Random House on March 31st 2013
Genres: Fiction, General
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