Thursday, November 15, 2012

Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventionall Marriage by Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn Brown

I recently got a chance to read this book while in bed sick.  (That is really the best time to catch up on that pile of bedside table books!)  I actually love watching the show Sister Wives and have been wanting to read their book to see if it added anything thing to what we've already seen on the show.  Here is the cover and Goodreads blurb:

In many ways, the Browns are like any other middle-American family. They eat, play, and pray together, squabble and hug, striving to raise happy, well-adjusted children while keeping their relationship loving and strong. The difference is, there are five adults in the openly polygamous Brown marriage—Kody and his four wives—who among them have seventeen children. Since TLC first launched its popular reality program Sister Wives, the Browns have become one of the most famous families in the country. Now Kody, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn reveal in their own words exactly how their special relationship works—the love and faith that drew them together, the plusses and pitfalls of having sister wives, and the practical and emotional complications of a lifestyle viewed by many with distrust, prejudice, even fear. With the candor and frankness that have drawn millions to their show, they talk about what makes their fascinating family work, addressing the topics that intrigue outsiders: How do the four relationships differ? What effect does a polygamous upbringing have on their children? What are the challenges—emotional, social, or financial—involved in living this lifestyle? Is it possible for all four sister wives to feel special when sharing a husband—and what happens when jealousy arises? How has being on camera changed their lives? And what’s it like to add a new wife to the family—or to be that new wife? Filled with humor, warmth, surprising insights, and remarkable honesty, this is a singular story of plural marriage and all the struggles and joys that go with it. At heart, it’s a love story—unconventional but immediately recognizable in the daily moments of trust, acceptance, forgiveness, passion, and commitment that go into making one big, happy, extraordinary family.
I know for sure that I could NEVER live the Principle of Plural Marriage.  I know that I never could.  I would never be able to share my husband in that way.  Ever.  I don't really deal that well with other women in my space.  I'm selfish and territorial  I suppose.  Monogamy is a social development that we humans have.  At least, that was the theory put forth in the Philosophy of Evolution course  took in college.  It makes sense to me that early humans who lived without societal constraints probably didn't put as much effort into the idea of monogamy.  The concept of marriage has it's origin prior to recorded history but it really began and is still, a social and financial bargain.  It joins people together and they can pool assets and such.  We all marry for our own reasons but as far as the government is concerned, it's all taxes and name changes to them.  Polygamy was outlawed in the 1880's when the government put the pressure on the Mormon church to sign a document pledging to no longer practice "Celestial" or plural marriage.  This led to groups of Fundamentalists moving out into the rural areas and living in compounds to hide from authorities when their groups refused to stop living plural marriage.  Fundamentalists have become associated, in the media, which creepy old men who marry young girls, long braided hair and old fashioned dresses.  The Browns are as modern as any family- they just happen to be Fundamentalists.  Kody Brown has four wives.  I love how Meri, Janelle, Robyn and Christine are all bright, vibrant women who know what they want.  Kody is the common denominator between the the wives and children but the wives run the show.  My husband is not the traditional "patriarch" of our family either so I like that Kody isn't either.  (I will admit that if you were to ask my kids who the boss in our house is- they would say me.)  The Browns believe that they are following a religious principle that was given to their people by God.  They are all adults who have chosen to live this way of their own free will.  I could never live that life but I say power to them.  If it is what they want and no one is being abused then live and let live.  The Brown children seem genuinely happy.  They may not all want to live the same kind of life that their parents live but they all seem happy with their family life.  The book focuses on each wife's marriage to Kody and how it affects the family under each of the book's headings of matrimony, celebrity, sorority and family.  I really enjoyed reading all of the stories and experiences in the book.  I was disappointed to see that there was little new information that we hadn't already seen on the show.  There are some stories that have been shown on the show and in different interviews that are clarified but nothing in this book is earth shattering.  If you want to read it to find something new, there isn't really anything new in it.  What is in the book are great stories about the amazing Brown family.  The way of life that they have chose in not easy but they manage to make 4 marriages work and raise healthy, well adusted kids.  They are pretty awesome.  I liked reading the women's thoughts on each other and how each of their relationships works.  I have the utmost respect for them and their maturity, honesty, responsibility and bravery.

You can click here to add Becoming Sister Wives to your Goodreads.  I give this book 3 Fairies for a great read and an interesting companion to the TLC show.

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