The 19th Wife, David Ebershoff, Random House Inc, 2008, 507pp
After reading Under the Banner of Heaven a couple years ago, I swore I would never read another book about Mormons. Well, I am in five reading groups, so what were the odds? I liked The 19th Wife better mainly because Jordan Scott, the kid of fundamentalist Mormons, who is trying to save his mother, is such an endearing character.
I have to agree with some of the reviews I read: jumping back and forth from the present to the 1800s was all right as far as contrasting Mormon history with it modern configurations, but Jordan's story was the more compelling and I got annoyed that Ebershoff kept leaving Jordan hanging from a cliff for as much as 50 pages at a time, while I had to read about Brigham Young and his rebellious wife.
I did find the examination of the faith-based cult mentality enlightening and sensitively done. Having participated in a few of what I would consider cults in my life, I was intensely interested in contemplating the reasons I got hooked myself. My conclusion? At the bottom of any cult is a con man. I guess that makes me a sucker, at least in my young and foolish years.
Now I have spent enough time on this book.
(The 19th Wife is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)