I've become a polygamy voyeur and I can't help myself.
It all started with "Big Love." This series on HBO, told the stories of a modern day polygamist and his family. The story, fictionalized of course, showed the inner workings of how a man with three "sister wives" managed their personal and professional lives. How they blended their homes and their children. How they shared their time together as a family and how each wife got to spend time with their husband.
It was and is entertaining. Sometimes very far fetched. But always, intriguing. The hardest part for me was really wrapping my head around the idea of sharing your spouse with someone. Marriage is hard enough with one man and one woman, I can't imagine factoring in another person or persons into the mix.
Raising kids is challenging. Can you imagine raising your own and someone else's? Where is the divide in parenting? Is there a divide? Could you honestly love these "other" children of your husband and sister wife as much as your own? It would have to be different. It's only human to think that way.
Next, came "The 19th Wife," by David Ebershoff. I happened upon this book, actually in the audio section at my local library. Already interested in the "Big Love" phenomenon, I wanted to learn a little more. What was especially intriguing about this novel, is that it was told from two different perspectives and times in history.
The first story, was a semi-fictionalized historical perspective of how the Mormon religion and polygamy came into practice. It starts with it's roots in the East and tells the tale of Joseph Smith and his followers as they move West and build their church in Utah. This story is told from the viewpoint of Anne Eliza Smith, his "19th" wife. It tells how Anne came to be married to Joseph Smith and ultimately divorces and exposes the polygamist lifestyle and eventually helps plural marriages become illegal through an act of congress.
The second part of the story is told from a modern day character, a child of plural marriage, who is is shunned and turned out by his own family. He returns to his hometown to help his mother, who is being accused of the murder of her husband. We learn how these polygamist of today, have split from mainstream Mormonism and have created their version of the religion, still following Joseph Smith's beliefs.
These two stories, although very different, they eventually wind themselves together in a very memorable tale.
Recently, Lifetime television, made a movie from this book. It is in a word, disappointing. I'm sure it's difficult, to take a book of this magnitude and turn it into a 2 hour made for tv movie. But, in my opinion, if you have to make so many changes in order for it to fit your formula, you shouldn't even try. They changed some of the most elemental facts of the book and minimized the historical portion so much, that I feel you lose the entire spirit of the book.
If you happened to see the movie, and haven't read the book, don't judge the book by it. Do yourself a favor and read the book, you won't be disappointed. If you've read the book and haven't seen the movie yet, don't bother. Usually, I'm pretty happy with Lifetime's making of novels into movies, this time however; they missed the mark.
Currently, I'm reading (listening to...) "The Lonely Polygamist," by Brady Udall. The title drew me in- how could a polygamist be lonely? Being the voyeur that I've become on this subject matter, I was sucked in immediately. This book was published earlier this year. I hadn't seen it the book stores, nor had I read about it anywhere. If this is new to you too- let me just tell you- read this book. Regardless, of you're feelings about polygamy, you will want to read this tale of Golden Richards and his four wives and twenty-eight children.
We learn about this family through the eyes of it's father/husband, Golden, his fourth wife, Trish and one of his son's, Rusty. Golden, is a man that has let life happen to him. He really hasn't made any conscience decisions regarding his life ever. He just lets his life unfold. He is in the midst of a mid-life crisis, when he meets another woman, whom he chooses to fall in love with and have an affair.
Trish tells us of her life as the fourth wife. Her struggles to find her place in the family as a mother and a wife. Her struggles to have children. Her struggles in deciding if this truly is the life meant for her.
Finally, Rusty. Rusty is for me the most engaging, sweet, misguided soul of the bunch. As the saying goes, "All God's children want to be loved." Rusty too, struggles to understand why he was put in this family. Clearly, different, rebellious and craving to be a normal kid, he does everything he can to upset the balance of power and control in the household.
The story is compelling, chaotic, funny and deeply upsetting. It makes you question the wisdom of this plural lifestyle for the sake of religious purposes. What's the true motivation? How is anyone better off being raised in this environment. Is this an excuse to be selfish or a chance to hide among many?
Starting tonight, TLC has a new show debuting called, "Sister's Wives." This is a "reality show" look at plural marriages focusing in on a family in, where else, but Utah? (Kind of like "Jon & Kate, Plus 8" but for the polygamy set...) I've watched a few clips on the TLC website and already, I'm feeling the pull to check in on this family.
So, what does this say about me? My draw to this subject matter? Beloved has started asking questions. (Do I want a sister wife?) Seriously, I'm just so intrigued. It's like the train wreck you can't help taking a look at as you drive by. What are your feelings on polygamy? Clearly, I'm opposed. However, I am interested on many levels. Purely, from an emotional human thinking side, I don't get it. Will you be checking out the new show on TLC? Have you read "The 19th Wife," or "The Lonely Polygamist?"
It's been a while, share with me people, I'd love to know your thoughts!
In honor of a little soiree, auction fundraiser I'm attending, I thought it would be fun to dedicate this post to the cause. But first a story, to explain this pick.
When I was a Senior in college, my sorority was paired with our next door neighbor fraternity for Greek Week. The final event of the week long competition was the "Air Band" contest. (Remember those?!)
Well, we were having a pretty fantastic week competitively, but we were neck and neck with a rival team. It was all going to come down to the "Battle of the Bands." The band we had to emulate was "Kool and the Gang." The final song of our set brought the house down, and we won not only the contest, but all of Greek Week as well.
This song brought us luck then and I believe will do the same for our fundraiser too- I can feel it, good things are to come! You can't help but smile and start to move when you hear this tune...
So- to all my friends who have worked so long and so hard- remember to take time to enjoy the fruits of our labor and .....CELEBRATE!!
The third and final male author that ranks in my top of tops, favorite of favorites, is Jonathon Tropper. He is truly a writer's writer. In as much, not only is he a working, many times published author; but he actually teaches writing at the university level.
Here's what I love about his books. They make me laugh. He takes everyday, sometimes heart wrenching situations and is able to interject humor. Sometimes the situations are so unbelievable, they border on the ridiculous and therein lies the funny.
The first Tropper book I happened upon was, "How to Talk to a Widower."
The main character in this novel, Doug Parker is a 29 old widow. A novel concept in his little berg. He's surrounded by chaos. Chaos that comes from raising his 16 year old stepson, chaos of his twin sister moving in with him after leaving her husband and the chaos of his other sister marrying his ex-best friend.
Additionally, he's somewhat of a wanted man among the single, cougar set on the block. He's grieving the loss of his wife, while trying to hold it altogether and "get on with his life."
This novel hooked me. Hook, line and sinker, my friends. I couldn't get enough...
Next on the docket, "Plan B."
This is actually, Tropper's debut novel. It's the story of five college friends who are turning 30. They seem to be at a crossroads already at this monumental age. One's about to be divorced, one has recently lost their job, one is a celebrity who's becoming more famous for his drug addiction than his movie making and the last two, seem sort of floundering along- not quite content in their job or personal life. The friends gather to stage an intervention/kidnapping and the fun ensues.
Next on the reading list, "Everything Changes."
This is the story of the guy who would appear to have it all going on- a good paying job, a beautiful fiance, a rent free Manhattan apartment and the memory of his best friend who died in an accident two years prior. This is where it starts to fall apart and fall apart spectacularly. The father who abandoned the family twenty years earlier wants to make amends. The feelings for the widowed wife of his best friend turn to something more and then you start questioning - everything. This novel, should not be missed if you're on the Tropper band wagon. Which leads me to "The Book of Joe;"
Another Tropper at his best. This is the story of a book within a book. Joe- a best selling author, returns home after seventeen years, due to his father being in a coma. His return should be triumphant, but because his best selling novel is about his hometown and the fateful events that took place during his senior year of high school, his homecoming is less than welcoming. Truly, when you are reading about all of the terrible thing that befall Joe, just in the first twenty-four hours, you can't help but feel sorry for the guy and be mad at the same time, just like his family and the rest of the town.
Finally, his most recent novel, "This Is Where I Leave You."
Probably his most accomplished novel and my favorite, Tropper takes us on 7 day trip in the life of Judd Foxman. In this span of time, Judd finds out his wife has been having an affair for the last year with his boss. So, in one fell swoop, he loses his wife and his job. His father dies and his wife tells him she's pregnant with his baby.
The family, who hasn't spent any time altogether in years, must sit Shiva for 7 days. Hilarity and messiness follows, as you can imagine. At it's heart, this book is about love, marriage, divorce, family and how at it's core is how in a family we are all connected, whether we like it or not.
Some of these novels have been optioned for movies. I look forward to that. Additionally, Jonathon has worked on several screenplays that are being made into movies.
So that's -that. My top three "Boy" authors. Hopefully, I've encourage you to check out their work or at least inspired you go and find some boys of your own....
Certain artists remind me of the playlist of my life. Sheryl Crow is one of those artists. It seems that she's been making music for most of my adult life and she continues to amaze. Not only is she a true talent, beautiful, empowered woman....she's cool. Check out "Good is Good." It's a few years old, but still stands the test of time...enjoy...
I know you're thinking, well the covers are nice and all, but really, don't you have anything to say about these books or this author?
Well, actually, I do. Quite a lot in fact.
If you want to know too- go on over to Undercover with Deb and Beth and take a listen to our podcast on Sandra Brown. Rather have it downloaded to your iPod? Check out iTunes, key word search-Deb and Beth to find our library of podcasts available.
Come on, you know you want to....it will be fun, I promise!
Well, fall activities were in full color bloom this weekend. Starting with a few firsts, specifically for Youngest. Starting after school Friday, the talk of the class was a middle school dance being hosted by a neighboring high school. "Everyone is going mom!" After a few phone calls from other moms, (there's strength in numbers-we needed a united front...) it was decided our darling daughters could attend, with a few rules.
Can you feel their excitement? I was on the pick up end of the evening, and I had to laugh listening to these girls talk about their night. They had a great time and can't wait for the next "dance." Personally speaking, I can...they're getting so old, too soon. Mercy, it's just the start of the 6th grade.
Youngest said to me after everyone was dropped off, "Mom, it wasn't anything like I thought it would be."
"What did you think it would be like?"
"Well, for one, I was expecting the lights to be on...it was really dark in the gym, they only had the lights from the DJ and a disco ball."
"It was super crowded and super hot, too!"
"Anything else?" I asked.
"Yeah, no one was really dancing, as much as we were just jumping up and down shaking our arms in the air..."
I like the sound of that....
Next up, first volleyball matches of the season.
These little dynamos were on fire! They worked together as a team and showed a lot of spirit. So fun to watch -when everyone's clicking.
Finally, my little cheerleaders came out this weekend for their first sideline performance.
They are in their "warm weather" ensembles. Can't wait to bring out our "vintage" sweaters. These girls have been working so hard on their half time routine, I can't wait for them to break it out at next week's game.