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Daughter of the Saints: Growing Up in Polygamy Paperback – October 17, 2004


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Daughter of the Saints: Growing Up in Polygamy + Daughters Of Zion: A Family's Conversion To Polygamy + Favorite Wife: Escape From Polygamy
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (October 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393325776
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393325775
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #431,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[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'.” (Boston Sunday Globe)

“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.” (Elle)

“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.

More About the Author

'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 a middle kid's propensity for identity crisis.' This first line from chapter one of Daughter of the Saints defines my place in the family constellation and the dilemmas I've faced throughout my life. I believe I've had a happier childhood than most people; nonetheless my family was plagued by secrecy and lies, by poverty and the threat of prison and government raids. I was unable to reconcile the inequities and illegalities of the polygamous lifestyle and broke with the fundamentalist group to marry my high school sweetheart. Now, nearly forty years and four children and a growing number of grandchildren later, I know that monogamy can be as challenging as polygamy seemed to be, and that happiness is a do-it-yourself project. My husband, a Vietnam veteran, has been an example of courage and commitment in the face of discouraging odds, and he has inspired me to keep on the path of purpose.
I have worked as a transformational trainer with Lifespring, Rising Star Communication Training, VisionWorks and Emerald City, designing and delivering communication seminars for corporations, small businesses, organizations, families, couples, adults, teens and children. I conduct life coaching programs for various clients who inspire and thrill me with their success. I've always written and I've always loved writing, except when I hate it. I've published the following books: In My Father's House, which won first prize for biography in the Utah State Writing Contest and the Publisher's Prize; Inside Out: A Guide to Creative Writing in the Classroom; Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk (hardbound) and Daughter of the Saints which also won first prize in the Utah State Writing Contest and also won the WILLA for memoir in 2004; and The Sisterhood: Inside the Lives of Mormon Women, due for publication in 2007. I've also published essays, articles, stories and books in various magazines and journals, receiving a variety of awards and honors, including a Sigma Delta Chi award, an award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a Governor's Media Award for Excellence. I am a happier and a better person when I'm writing than when I am not.

Customer Reviews

A real page turner.
M
I very much recommend this book to anyone looking to find out more about this controversial issue.
J. Santiago
I admire the courage to tell these experiences, and to be so honest about it to us the readers.
M. Cabrera

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 24, 2004
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.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By S. McBride on April 28, 2007
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.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sally Smith on August 21, 2007
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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alane Ferguson on May 24, 2006
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!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Allred on August 23, 2007
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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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey R. Callaway on August 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This memoir was a captivating read. Dorothy Allred Solomon writes openly about problems in FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saint) polygamist communities; however, she does not pick apart any of the problems within the larger mainstream LDS church, though the parellels between FLDS and LDS are glaring throughout the book.

It is well-written and highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sherry Hudson on November 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a great book if you like this type of book. It was one that you want to stay up all night to finish.
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