Saturday, November 17, 2012

Predators, Prey and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up In Polygamy by Dorothy Allred Solomon

I came across this book while at the library looking for the Brown Family's book.  I am SO glad that I did!  This book is so amazingly honest and open.  Dorothy Allred Solomon talks about how the lies she was forced to tell about her family always left her feeling like she must be a pathological liar but she pulls no punches in this story of her life as the only daughter born to her father's fourth wife.  She tells everything: the good, the bad and the ugly.  Here's the cover and dust jacket blurb:

I am the daughter of my father's fourth plural wife, twenty-eighth of forty-eight children—a middle kid, you might say. So begins this astonishing memoir of life in the family of Utah fundamentalist leader and naturopathic physician Rulon C. Allred. Since polygamy was abolished by manifesto in 1890, this is a story of secrecy and lies, of poverty and imprisonment and government raids. When raids threatened, the families were forced to scatter from their pastoral compound in Salt Lake City to the deserts of Mexico or the wilds of Montana. To follow the Lord's plan as dictated by the Principle, the human cost was huge. Eventually murder in its cruelest form entered when members of a rival fundamentalist group assassinated the author's father. Dorothy Solomon, monogamous herself, broke from the fundamentalist group because she yearned for equality and could not reconcile the laws of God (as practiced by polygamists) with the vastly different laws of the state. This poignant account chronicles her brave quest for personal identity.
The author grew up in polygamy but she chose to live a monogamous life herself.  Her father was willing to work against insane odds to live the Principle of Plural Marriage.  His beliefs led him to take many wives and to have nearly 40 children.  He still loved and supported the author in her choices, even when they flew in the face of his faith.  He was not a perfect father, husband or patriarch but he tried.  The author's experience of growing up in hiding as the child of polygamists was one of fear and of never having enough but also familial love.  She grew up angry at her father for the slights that she felt he committed against her mother.  She was angry at never having enough because the money had to be spread so thin.  Her life experience spans the time from the forties to the nineties in this book.  There was such fear and adversity that she faced.  Her young husband went to Vietnam while she was pregnant with their first daughter.  I loved every moment of this book because it is not sensationalized in the least but it also tells the whole true and nothing but the truth. The way that Dorothy Allred Solomon managed to go through the things she did and come out a religious person with the desire to help others is inspiring.

You can click here to add this book to your Goodreads.  I gave Predators Prey and Other Kinfolk 4 Fairies for a candid life story told by a lovely woman who is changing the world for the better by sharing.

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