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Daughter of the Saints: Growing Up in Polygamy Paperback – 3 Nov 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (3 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393325776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393325775
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.3 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,022,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"[An] amazing story." -- Pam Houston "Written with courage, compassion, and an uncommon wisdom... This book is a reckoning with truth." -- Terry Tempest Williams "Solomon succeeds so admirably where Krakauer fails. She has produced a book sprinkled with both beauty and 'indelible sadness'." "I have never read a memoir that moved me so deeply." -- Teresa Jordan "Her harrowing family history and bracingly vivid, frequently poetic memoir is a document of consistent fascination and intermittently astonishing power." "Bold and strongly imagined...takes us deep to the heart of a family story that is both strange and familiar." -- Kim Barnes "A wise and moving memoir that should be read by anyone interested in how we configure our relationships." -- Judith Freeman

About the Author

Dorothy Allred Solomon lives in Park City, Utah. She is the recipient of several awards from the Utah Arts Council and a Governor's Media Award for Excellence.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I AM THE ONLY DAUGHTER of my father's fourth plural wife, twenty-eighth of forty-eight children-a middle kid, you might say, with the middle kid's propensity for identity crisis. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nevada on 17 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
i really think that this is the best book about American polygamy around. Soloman's account of her life growing up in Polygamy is fascinating- she tells the good and the bad. it is refreshing to read a book on the subject which does not focus only on the misery that the problems of this lifestyle brings. it is well written and warm. loved it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 27 reviews
63 of 67 people found the following review helpful
Daddy Dearest 24 Oct. 2004
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was obviously a difficult book to write after years of silence as a way of life for a woman who grew up in a plural marriage. Dorothy's father, Rulon C. Allred, believed he was called to live in the Principle of Plural Marriage, which was dissolved by the church elders in 1890. Dorothy is the twenty-eighth of forty-eight children and has a unique perspective, a child among many siblings with an intimate view of the daily lives of sister-wives, as the women called themselves. Sister-wives formed a mutual support system, sharing chores and the rearing of children, as well as their husband.

Over the years, political pressure was put upon the Church of the Latter Day Saints to desist from plural marriages and confine their member to monogamy. Still, there were those who held to the fundamentalist tenets of a patriarchal religion that allowed a man more than one wife on his path toward sainthood. Eventually, many of these families were fragmented in order to avoid arrest; either that, or they moved where they would not be prosecuted, to such countries as Mexico. The Allred's fled to Mexico to avoid the law, but it was inhospitable, barely endurable for a growing tribe whose basic needs were barely met. Rulon would leave the family compound in Mexico, returning to Utah to maintain his chiropractic office with his one legal wife, who remained in Utah.

This is an shocking story, as the author reveals the hardships endured by the extended families of men who practiced The Principle. Besides the fact that first wives agonized over whether to participate in the marriages, there was the human dissatisfaction of sharing a husband, although most sister-wives succumbed to intense pressure from the men. At least they had a choice in the matter. None of the children had a choice and it is the children who suffered from a lifestyle that forced them to lie about family circumstances and constantly uprooted them from place to place to avoid their parent's being sent to jail. This only made their lives more tenuous, both children and wives making money by whatever means possible.

The author grapples with her love for her father and his complicity in causing such hardship for his children. While she faces most of the difficult truths, there is a constant tendency to rationalize Rulon's behavior, especially after he is murdered by another fanatical faction of polygamists. In the end, it is telling that Solomon chooses monogamy for herself, as do many of her siblings. However, the psychological damage to the children is immeasurable; such problems as incest and child abuse are virtually ignored, rather than bring attention to the family lifestyle. Yet Solomon is as rigorous as she is able in assessing her life in such an archaic arrangement, dedicated to speaking her truths and shining light into the darkness:" The family orchards are bearing their harvest and some of it is bitter." Luan Gaines/2004.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
An Honest, Inside Look at Polygamy 28 April 2007
By S. McBride - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I was moved by Solomon's courage in speaking so honestly about her upbringing in a polygamist world. In this articulate, reflective, and often poetic memoir, she captures the beauty and suffering which come from living a hidden life among an abundance of family--where she is both comforted and lost. Being an intelligent, strong-willed child, she ultimately cannot accept a lifestyle where women aren't allowed to question their predicament and are expected to dedicate their lives to God by sharing a husband and birthing numerous children. In this courageous memoir, Solomon tells stories of her upbringing, speaking with love and empathy for her family yet refusing to paint a false picture of what it means to be a child of polygamy. Her intention, clearly, is to tell the truth.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Daughter of the Saints 21 Aug. 2007
By Sally Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you want to know what it's really like growing up in polygamy and living "the principle", forget Big Love and Jon Krakauer. Go to the source. Dorothy Solomon is the "middle child" in a family of 48 brothers and sisters. She is the daughter of murdered polygamist leader Rulon Allred. She knows what she is talking about. And she is an award-winning writer. If language matters to you, read this book. It was originally published in hardcover by Norton, for heaven's sake; it's hard to get published by Norton.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant look into a different world 25 May 2006
By Alane Ferguson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dorothy Solomon is a writer who dared to go deep in this unflinching look at her own unique life. I was truly riveted by the story, but that is only half of Daughter of the Saints' appeal. The rest lies in the brilliant way in which the background is told. Solomon's voice is both rich and nuanced, searing and delicate. Her father is shown as a flawed yet noble man. The many women who shared his bed through plural marriage are faceted as well. I was awed by the delicate way Solomon articulated her emotional path from pologamy to monogamy. May there be many, many more books in this talented writer's future!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Daughter of the Saints 23 Aug. 2007
By D. Allred - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Daughter of the Saints is a long-time labor over a difficult subject and with many risks. Much of the intrique in the book is the unconscious recognition by the reader that this author is unusual in the sense that she'd even consider wrting about such a bizare upbringing. Anyone who has even considered expressing non-consenting views of one's own family and especially their religion---no matter how strange---must have a strong constitution, sense of conscience and determination. It takes great skill, sensitivity and fairness to pull off such an undertaking---and still there were tough repercussions from family and true believers. Though it was not the intent nor was it possible to give an in-depth evaluation or critique of of this unique American life style, the book goes a long way toward educating and bringing to awareness the wide-spread existence and practices of such Mormon beliefs, their many splinters and their considerable good-bad (?)influences in the lives of so many.
David Allred
Redding, Calif.
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