My loss of energy has not meant less reading. I just finished The Rapture of Canaan, a novel by Sheri Reynolds. It was in many ways similar but also very different from the book John read to me over the last few weeks, over 600 pages but it flew by quickly: The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall. Both books are about cultic groups. Canaan about a very abusive and extreme Pentecostal commune. The story is told by a young girls who is questioning the awful things perpetrated by her grandfather, the religious leader. It was difficult to identify with many of the characters who go along with the dictates of the leader, but a very interesting book.
The much better book is Lonely Polygamist. Brady Udall is part of the big LDS Udall clan, though he is half-hearted at best. No Mormon in good standing could have written this book and gotten by with it. He tells a very thoughtful story of a polygamous family of a generation ago. Golden is the main character and he is navigating life with his 4 wives who more-or-less get along with each other but are all struggling in their relationship with him. The story goes from funny to heart-breaking within a matter of paragraphs. And in the end you feel like you know this family and you care about their struggles but are not really seeing them as wierd at all. They're normal people with a lot of difficulties and sadness. The book unfolds with more twists and turns than any other book I can remember reading. Udall, as one reviewer wrote, has written the "great American novel." I envy his skill as a writer.
John is now reading to me Hissing Cousins: The Untold Story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Alice Roosevelt Longworth. We're enjoying it thoroughly. We've long loved Eleanor and are now just getting to know her crazy cousin Alice, daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt.