Saturday, March 23, 2013

Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife by Irene Spencer (CBR-V #12)

Cannonball Read V: Book #12/52
Published: 2007
Pages: 400
Genre: Memoir

4 stars: Very good. Would recommend.

I've read a few other books by people who escaped polygamy, but this one was unique in the face that Irene Spencer is my grandmother's age. She literally spent almost her entire life on polygamy compounds in Mexico and other parts of Central America. Her mother left polygamy when Irene was a child, but even that didn't keep Irene from re-entering the world of plural marriage. As a teenager, she left her monogamist fiance in the United States to marry her brother-in-law, Verlon, and be his second wife. He moved her and his first wife down to a compound in Mexico. From there, Irene's life was a living hell of extreme poverty and the awful jealousy over Verlon's eventual nine other wives. The wives ended up with a total of 58 children, with Irene having 13 of our own.

The most heartbreaking part of the story was that Irene stayed with Verlon only due to the fact that she thought she was doomed to hell if she didn't stay. She was obviously not cut out for polygamy (but what woman is?) and was spiteful to Verlon and rude to the other wives. But through all of her fits and jealousy, she stayed with him for DECADES out of fear. 

This was one of the best books on polygamy I've read. It's well written and tells Irene's heartbreaking story from her teens through grandparenthood (she has over 100 grandchildren now). 

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