Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Book Review: The 19th Wife

For March our book club read: 

The 19th Wife 
by David Ebershoff

From the back of the book:

Faith, I tell them, is a mystery, elusive to many, and never easy to explain. 

Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff's  The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense. It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family's polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.

Soon after Ann Eliza's story begins's a second exquisite narrative unfolds-a tale of muser involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father's death.

And as Ann Eliza's narrative intertwines with that of Jordan's search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith.
My thoughts:

I found the Ann Eliza story line fascinating. I liked the historical fiction and the details. I thought that Mr. Ebershoff did a wonderful job of weaving historical documents and fiction into a believable tale. I liked this part of the story so well, in fact, that I hated the entire second story line. I felt like it was completely unnecessary.

I'm not a total prude and I understand that this lifestyle still goes on and that it holds horrible consequences for the young men that pose a threat to the "community".  But I really felt that the graphic language was over the top. I usually try to avoid this kind of trash when I pick a book. I hate to be blindsided and frankly was embarrassed that I chose it for my group of ladies. 
SO if you opt to read this selection, my recommendation is just read the Ann Eliza story, or at least be forewarned that the other story line has LOTS of graphic language and adult sexual situations. 

I'm Joining in for Literary Friday


Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

I just read a book that had the same kind of secondary story line for the main character - it seemed superfluous to the story which was actually quite interesting. This book had great reviews too, so you never know :-)

The Polka Dot Closet said...

As I was reading what was on the back cover it did not hint at a graphic story line. The book really sounds good, so odd they would add that? So sorry that you were embarrassed...Hope later you can all laugh about it!


Tales of Whimsy said...

Booooo. Language is soooo unnecessary. I find it bothers me more in print. When we're speaking, it's easy to get tongue tied and use the wrong word. But writing takes forethought.

Oliva Ohlson said...

I'm interesting in reading this book, part 1 though. Sounds very interesting.

Ricki Treleaven said...

I hate gratuitous foul language, and I doubly hate it when I'm blindsided by it. I've done the same thing in book club, but when you read several reviews and there's no mention of it, how are you to know?

I have a friend who read this and enjoyed it. She was fascinated with the historical part like you.

Thanks so, so much for linking-up to Literary Friday!!!