February 27, 2014

Bookworm Chronicles: Vol. 1

I love books. Reading is something that I've always loved for as long as I can remember. I try to read 40-50 books a year and figured that since it's such a big part of my life, I should probably blog about it! So every now and then I'll be posting here about my favorite books that I've read lately.
Bookworm Chronicles: Vol.1
"He also believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, that he can bend the world to his will, that he can manufacture a place in it where he will be happy." - Brady Udall, The Lonely Polygamist

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall was a recommended book by one of my favorite employees at the local bookstore in Portsmouth. If you're local and don't already shop at RiverRun, you should go there now and buy a book! The staff has the best recommendations ever. Anyway, this book was amazing. I have a strange interest in polygamist families as it is (hello, Anthropology major!) so I'm always excited to take a peek into something that explores that way of life. But I have to say I wasn't prepared to get AS into this book as I did. I laughed and cried and really felt something for all of the characters.

The book is set in the 1970's and follows Golden Richards, his four wives, and their family of 27 children. It's mostly directly about about Golden, but also goes from the viewpoint of his 5th son, Rusty, and his 4th wife, Trish. It's interesting because at his heart Golden feels lost and alone, but he is constantly surrounded by people. He takes a contracting job in Nevada and travels back and forth throughout the book, so really the book follows how the family deals with his absence (since he is supposed to be the head of the entire family). There is, of course, quite a fall-out because without him around life as the family knows it is completely different.
Bookworm Chronicles: Vol.1
I truly loved reading about Golden and his paths to losing himself and then finding himself again, but my favorite characters were Rusty and Trish. Rusty is a phenomenally written character. He is so different from everyone else in the family and I think more than anything he just wants to be acknowledged and loved for who he is as an individual. He is an eleven year old who doesn't really have any friends and who only receives negative attention from his family (his nickname is "the family terrorist" because he gets into a lot of trouble). He forms an inappropriate attachment to Trish, who is also wonderfully written. She is the youngest and newest wife who is still dealing from the heartbreak of losing her still-born son. She wants to be in an open and loving relationship with Golden and has a hard time dealing with his absence. Since she lives in her own house with just one daughter, she also feels left out when it comes to rest of the family.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I will say, though, it is heartbreaking. Most of the characters have experienced something tragic and the book follows all of that bubbling to the surface. And since Udall writes about it in such an intriguing and captivating way, it really hits hard. On a positive note, as a "name-nerd," I was very into all of the names in this book. SO many characters with interesting names: Golden, Ferris, Fig-Newton, Darling, Boo...the list goes on!

xx Courtney

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