The first thought that came to mind when I closed this book was simply, wow. What a life.
I love when, upon finishing a novel, I’m inspired to immediately hop on here to write my review. Memoirs are some of my favorite books to read, especially about subjects outside of my realm of understanding. Polygamy is something I’ve been simultaneously disgusted and fascinated with since I truly came to understand that implications of it a few years ago with the release of Sister Wives. Like many in America, I thought this seemed like something that no longer went on, an outdated form of Mormonism. To my astonishment back then, I couldn’t believe even though polygamy was (and is) illegal, it still happens. Obviously, I was naive, but I think many of us are often sheltered by the American Dream. We are shocked to learn crazy things actually happen here, too, not just in third world countries.
Like most of us, it’s hard to fathom how women could be persuaded to share a husband. As possessive and catty as we can be as a gender, I imagine insane amounts of conflict between the “sister wives”, but this rarely seems to be the case. It’s amazing and sad to me that women are able to suppress this natural part of themselves for the sake of a man’s vision.
When my friend, Kacy, The Fettered Matriarch, reviewed this book in January I knew I had to request it from my library as soon as possible. If you haven’t read Kacy’s review, be sure to check it out here. If my review doesn’t compel you to read this incredible story, hers surely will.
I enjoy getting into the minds of real-life people, just ask any of my good friends – I ask a million questions. I want to know all of the why’s, when’s, and feelings people have faced. I truly want to uncover the inner workings of my fellow humans. In this case, Anna LaBaron’s, as she tells her story of what it was like being born into a polygamist family. She shares the important decisions that determined her life’s course, the feelings she experienced from growing up fatherless and being bounced from home to home, and what Faith looks like for her years after her escape from the life she didn’t choose to have.
I couldn’t put this down from the moment I picked it up. Knowing next to nothing about Anna’s family history, I was eager to see how things panned out for her into adulthood. I was impressed with her resilience and ability to find hope in Jesus, despite growing up in an alternate religious sect. I think most people would have been deterred from all religion after experiencing the lifestyle Anna faced from childhood, but God clearly wanted Anna for his Kingdom. Her bravery in sharing her testimony will only benefit people for years to come. I think through her courageous writing of this memoir, she is almost helping to undo the evil her father, Ervil, whose name is ironically one letter away from evil, was responsible for.
A surprising personal connection came through this novel, as well. Anna mentions places she lived through her numerous moves during childhood as the adults in her family were running from the law, from Mexico to Colorado and back again. During her time living in Denver, she mentions the family’s business being located near Taco House, a restaurant I’ve eaten at a time or two myself! Now calling Texas home again, I haven’t heard mention of this restaurant in ages. I certainly didn’t expect to find it mentioned in this memoir!
Overall, I’m simply in awe of Anna’s life. Her story shows readers that humans are so much more than where we come from. We all determine our own paths and with God, anything truly is possible. Thank you, Anna, for sharing your moving story with the world. You are an incredible human being. I pray you continue to find peace and happiness in your life.
Readers, I hope you will pick up Anna’s story. It’s so important to learn more about the human experience and get in touch with the suffering those around us face. It makes us better people just by knowing.