Monday, September 07, 2009

The End of Summer Read

Growing up, I had never had any experience with the Mormon religion; my only exposure was the father of a family in town who left his wife for a Mormon woman. Ironic, don't you think? The 19th Wife has certainly done a job filling in the blanks.

Ebershoff's novel was read by the majority of the girls in my tea group, so when I found it at the library I thought I would give it a go. First, read the NY Times review. Now I am asking that you take that and eliminate all the negative adjectives. Yes, he did do all those things in his narrative, but 'cacophony'? 'Exhausting'? Hardly.

Jordan goes home seeking the truth about his mother's role in his father's murder. Along the way he befriends creepy little Johnny - that did not move the plot. The second thing that did need scripting was the love affair between Jordan and Tom, the excommunicated LDS managing a hotel. Time would have been better spent on the roles of the attorney defending Jordan's mom, and his secretary, Maureen. But I found the story of the "Firsts" a renegade sect straight out of Big Love fascinating.

The second story line focused on the 19th wife of Brigham Young, Ann Eliza. This section showed the real research of the author. Frankly, I found all the bits and pieces intriguing; I learned a great deal about John Smith and his early ministry. How the church moved to and from polygamy was also fascinating; the political moves of powerful does one resist?
Great literature, it is not. But well worth the ink and paper.

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