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Love Times Three Hardcover – September 13, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Eye-opening and courageous.” (Kirkus)

“The Dargers tell their story with candor and an aching authencity.” (Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, creators of HBO's BIG LOVE)

“A remarkably candid and plainspoken account...this unassuming book opens the door on plural marriage... (Library Journal)

From the Back Cover

He runs his own business and coaches Little League. She drives a minivan, and she’d be lost without her trusty BlackBerry. They go on date nights. Their kids attend public schools, play sports, and take music lessons. They live in a roomy house in the ’burbs. They’re about as mainstream as families come....They’re also polygamists.

For decades, polygamous families have been forced to hide their lifestyle. Men risk prosecution and economic blacklisting, and women face social isolation and faulty assumptions about what it means to live as a sister wife. But Love Times Three, the first-ever memoir of a polygamous family, is a riveting inside look at a world most of us can hardly imagine, revealing the extraordinary workings of the Dargers’ day-to-day life.

Independent Fundamentalist Mormons, the Dargers grew up in polygamous families, and by the time they were in high school, they knew they wanted to live the Principle themselves. But in a highly unusual situation, even for their culture, both Alina and Vicki expressed interest in Joe at the same time. They ultimately courted him together, and married him on the same day. Valerie, Vicki’s twin sister, joined the marriage ten years later.

The Dargers move the conversation away from child brides, Warren Jeffs, and the FLDS to more mainstream polygamists who willingly enter into plural relationships as adults. Rather than living in isolated communities, Independent Fundamentalist Mormons are similar to an average American family—except for their family structure.

In this intimate, inside story, the Dargers explain why they chose this path despite the pressures of keeping their relationships secret and the jealousy and personal challenges that naturally ensue, why they believe polygamy should be an accepted lifestyle, and, ultimately, why they hope that by revealing their way of life in public, laws that criminalize their lifestyle might change.

Written in the voices of the four parents, Love Times Three is the story of one man, his three wives, and their twenty-four children as they live out their faith in a world of prejudice, misconception, and fear, including a chapter on the sister wife dynamic, one from Joe on how he juggles his three distinct romantic relationships, and a chapter from three of their children, called “My Three Moms.” Despite the risk of legal action, the Dargers know that it’s time to counteract Hollywood’s sensational interpretation and correct the general public’s misunderstanding of polygamy with the truth. Now, for the first time, Joe, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie Darger lift the veil on their so-called taboo way of life.


More to Explore
Download the Darger family tree from Love Times Three [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 294 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; First Edition edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062074040
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062074041
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The authors of this book try very hard to persuade the reader that polygamy is a wonderful and normal lifestyle. They tell impossible tales about how the husband always is there to fulfill every need. None of the 24 children is ever overlooked, the wives get everything they need from one-third of his time. Despite having huge numbers of children, home schooling and working, each mother is perfect--always does the right thing with each child. Everything is painted as sweetness and light.

I'm not convinced.

Examples of the jealousy and petty concerns this lifestyle brings about are between the lines. They worry constantly about whose turn it is for this, that, and the next thing, even keeping track of which wife's turn it is on their Blackberries. Heaven forbid the wrong wife got to sit in the front seat of the car when it wasn't her turn. Fighting over the front seat is what you expect from your kids, not adults. There is a scene meant to be humorous where they actually called home to have the kids check the calendar to see which wife got to sit in the front seat before they could drive home. That's pathetic.

The husband obviously laps up the role of King of the Hill. He enjoys being catered to, the focus of all the attention of the wives and many children. It's a very sexist world they live in.

The third wife was married before. She claims she did everything she could not to poison her kids from that marriage against their father. Really? You just wrote a book that ripped the man up one side and down the other. You think your kids won't see this? Oh, and they gloss over the fact that one of her children chose to leave their "perfect" family to move back to his real father, who was painted as a dastardly creep in this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage
By Joe, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie Darger
with Brooke Adams

Review by Nancy Mereska

Love Times Three is one long re-run. The "authors" of this book--Joe, Alina, Vicki and Valerie Darger--are obviously led through interviews by Brooke Adams. In these interviews each participant tells his/her story along the same story line with very little change.
Joe's allegiance to the practice of polygamy is told on pp 61-62 where he shares the story of his grandfather who married in the Salt Lake Temple (mainstream LDS) in 1926. The family story is that Apostle George F. Richards, the president of that temple, encouraged David Brigham Darger and his new wife, Eliza Aldora McDaniel to "pledge to live plural marriage if they ever got the chance." Thus, the connection with the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), not the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) was formed.
It is a fact that the mainstream LDS church did not start excommunicating those practicing polygamy until the early 1930s.
The double-standard of language between Mormon sects flows through this book. CTR in mainstream LDS means Choose The Right; in the Darger family it means communication, trust, and respect. Certainly no one would disagree that either of these mottos is not a good goal to have in any relationship--AND, the narration of this book goes to great lengths to show how Joe keeps his relationships with his three wives separate.
The "family" dynamics of this marriage are just as convoluted as any other polygamous grouping. Alina Darger, Joe's first and only legal wife, is actually Joe's aunt. Her older sister is married to Joe's father.
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Format: Hardcover
After having read several books on this subject, I was really interested in reading a success story. The problem with this book is that it is disjointed and disorganized. The author jumped from a marriage where he married two women on the same day to having several children - with no story in between. I would have been interested in learning how he handled two honeymoons at one time, how their lives evolved as children were born, etc.

My feeling is that the family tried to quickly step on the bandwagon while the interest was high, but fell terribly short in telling their story.

My book was borrowed from the library, but I would not recommend spending money to read.
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By SP on September 18, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Love Times Three" is filled with trite aphorisms that one has come to expect from polygamy apologists - ( "I am a better person due to the fact that I have to share my husband", etc ) - despite the fact that all four of the Dargers grew up in poverty, often surviving on WIC and food stamps, they attempt to paint their childhoods as idyllic. Never mind the fact that one wife was trained to wash dishes at age 4, and that visits from their polygamous fathers were brief and infrequent, and that older female children were recruited by their parents to take care of younger children and drop out of high school to "baby sit" - they still attempt to paint an idyllic picture of the polygamous life they experienced as children.

It is clear from the book that Alina, the first (and only legal) wife is the Queen Bee, the dominant and favored wife in the marriage. It must be difficult for Vicky (wife 2) and Val (wife 3) to live in Alina's shadow, as the Vicky describes severe post partum depression, jealousy, and starving herself down to a weight of 95 pounds due to the stress of her competitive relationship with Alina. Wife #3, Val,(Vicky's twin sister) was married by Joe at the suggestion of Alina (#1) and Vicky (# 2) because Val (#3) was newly divorced and unable to support herself and her five children. All three wives experience profound jealousy and competitiveness for their husband's affection and taking care of over 20 children is portrayed as quite stressful. The Dargers are financially strapped with 3 out of four parents working in order to have ends meet. After reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that the Dargers obviously have a different conception of happiness than the rest of us have if they would have us truly believe that they are happy.
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