Customer Reviews for

Lonely Polygamist

Average Rating 3.5
( 153 )
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5 Star

(44)

4 Star

(46)

3 Star

(39)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(9)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

A big family story, and I mean big!

Golden Richards is a big family man, a very big family man. A polygamist Mormon with four wives and 28 children it is a wondered how he has any time for his floundering construction company (maybe this is why it is struggling?). In spite of his large family, Richard's...
Golden Richards is a big family man, a very big family man. A polygamist Mormon with four wives and 28 children it is a wondered how he has any time for his floundering construction company (maybe this is why it is struggling?). In spite of his large family, Richard's increasing finds himself on the outside, detached from his loved ones. With this situation the author masterfully weaves together a dark comedy that made me laugh and cry. Golden has his secrets, a terrible crush on a woman he sees passing his job site: oh yeah, the job site itself is a Nevada cathouse but he tells the family it is a senior center! The family itself is tearing at the seams and Richard's is lost as to what to do. This is some of the best writing of 2010.

posted by RichardHead on June 5, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Too much for one book

I am a fan of Udall's writing, but was disappointed in this book. It is called a "dark comedy," but the tragic parts didn't seem so tragic juxtaposed with the comedy. Also, the horrific parts about the government's bomb testing were also diluted with the humor.
After r...
I am a fan of Udall's writing, but was disappointed in this book. It is called a "dark comedy," but the tragic parts didn't seem so tragic juxtaposed with the comedy. Also, the horrific parts about the government's bomb testing were also diluted with the humor.
After reading much literature about polygamy, I was not prepared to be sympathetic to this family, but I was. . . a testament to Udall's writing. Alas, the book seemed to take on too much.

posted by bookaholicNC on May 18, 2010

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    Too much for one book

    I am a fan of Udall's writing, but was disappointed in this book. It is called a "dark comedy," but the tragic parts didn't seem so tragic juxtaposed with the comedy. Also, the horrific parts about the government's bomb testing were also diluted with the humor.
    After reading much literature about polygamy, I was not prepared to be sympathetic to this family, but I was. . . a testament to Udall's writing. Alas, the book seemed to take on too much.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 5, 2010

    A big family story, and I mean big!

    Golden Richards is a big family man, a very big family man. A polygamist Mormon with four wives and 28 children it is a wondered how he has any time for his floundering construction company (maybe this is why it is struggling?). In spite of his large family, Richard's increasing finds himself on the outside, detached from his loved ones. With this situation the author masterfully weaves together a dark comedy that made me laugh and cry. Golden has his secrets, a terrible crush on a woman he sees passing his job site: oh yeah, the job site itself is a Nevada cathouse but he tells the family it is a senior center! The family itself is tearing at the seams and Richard's is lost as to what to do. This is some of the best writing of 2010.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2010

    nothing short of BRILLIANT

    No stranger to quirky stories that probe the depths of humanity, Udall has brought to bear every bit of the formidable strength he has been cultivating in his previous work. As a result, what he has given us is an exquisitely crafted novel whose 602 pages had me alternately laughing aloud and reading through unstoppable tears.

    While the story of a man with 4 wives, 28 children, a struggling construction business and a mid-life crisis that could destroy it all might seem not only unusual but implausibly far-fetched, the skill and compassion with which Udall draws each nuanced character makes them so painfully human that by the end of the story, they aren't at all unbelievable, but rather, an assemblage of every family you've ever known.

    It is a story of failure and redemption, dreams and disappointment, about the threats that seep in from the most unlikely sources and the blessings that do the same. An epic tale of love and family and the deepest currents of what it means to be human, a novel that should be on everyone's bookshelf -- and every book award list for 2010.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    Fell in love with the characters

    This was one of those stories that i got completely lost in. The characters all seemed incredibly real and the story was heartwarming. It's long but it's definitely worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    Can't always have what you want.

    This book was WAY to long. Brady expressed way to much on the main charter,but, I still had a vague feeling about him. Rusty was the star of the book. I read it but can't really get to enthustic about it.

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Horrible Disappointing Book...Don't Waste Your Time or Money

    Horrible book. Had times when I thought it would take off and be enjoyable, but was let down each time...Scenes like the one where a 30 year old woman giving manual relief to an 11 year old were disturbing and not believable....Stay away!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2011

    Disappointing

    I was drawn to the subject of polygamy by the fictional family in Big Love and by the real-life sister wives on the TV show of the same name. The idea of having a supportive group of sister-wives to help with child-rearing and house care is attractive to me, even if the idea of sharing a husband is not. This book drew me in because I wanted to read more about a polygamist family - husband, wives, children - and how they interacted. Unfortunately, that's not what The Lonely Polygamist provided. The focus was on the husband, Golden Richards, and his midlife crisis. The children existed in the background, as a blur running around the "racetrack" in Big House, where two of his wives lived. Except for Rusty and Glory, I never got a feel for how old they were or what made them unique. Why would a kid be named Fig Newton or Boo or Pet? I wanted explanations, which I didn't get. The wives were not well drawn out, either. Beverly and Trish had more of a presence than the other two, sisters Nola and Rose-of-Sharon, did. Kids were thrown into the story without explaining who they belonged to or how old they were. There was a chart explaining all of this at the front of the book, but since I was reading it on my Nook, flipping back and forth was awkward. I felt it could have been woven into the story easily. There was a lot more detail about the extracurricular love interest, his boss's wife. The offhand comments about the nuclear testing going on nearby were frightening, and I felt that Udall dealt with them flippantly. Radiation and fallout caused all sorts of problems for the people in the story, but they were dismissed in a couple of sentences. There was a brief reference to the number of children being born with birth defects, but the subject remained in the background. In short, I was disappointed by this book. I didn't like Golden; he was too detached from his wives and children. I didn't like the setting, which seemed to me like a radioactive desert. I wish I'd gotten to know the children better. I wouldn't recommend this book for anybody looking for a read in which a polygamist family is central. I suppose the title should have tipped me off.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2011

    Recommend

    Interesting interplay of characters

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  • Posted July 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Worth a Read

    Brady Udall certainly gives us plenty of characters to follow. Golden Richards, a polygamist with four wives and 28 children plus a love interest on the side, stays busy in this novel. There are many other memorable characters besides the family. At times while reading this book, I thought Golden Richards is what John Updikes's character Rabbit Angstrom would have been had Angstrom been a polygamist. Something about the child Rusty Richards reminded me of John Irving's Owen Meany. The book was funny in places and really sad in others, but I think Udall drug it out a bit too long. Udall skillfully shifted to differnt third person points of view throughout the book; that made it more interesting. All in all, a good book and definitely worth the time to read.

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  • Posted June 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    BIG Love for the Lonely Polygamist and his Sister-Wives

    THE LONELY POLYGAMIST starts with a family tree chart. This proved extremely helpful in setting up the novel, as well as serving as a reference guide to help readers keep straight four wives and twenty-eight children. The family chart shows everyone's relation, age, and name. I flipped back to it several times during the course of the 600-page book.

    Fortunately, although there are over 30 family characters, the novel only focuses on a select few, leaving the rest as just "background" characters who we never really learn much about. There's Golden, the father; his wives Beverly, Nola, Rose-of-Sharon, and Trish; and his son Rusty. Even some of the wives take a backseat, as the author puts more focus on Beverly and Trish. Brady Udall did a great job of fleshing out these characters, as well as Golden's now-deceased parents and his story as a young boy.

    Golden was dragged into the polygamy lifestyle and now, after four wives and twenty-eight kids, he feels in over his head. He feels overwhelmed and a bit regretful. He doesn't feel like he can live up to everyone's expectations and make them all happy. On top of all that, he's keeping secret the fact that he's helping build a brothel for work.

    Udall really gets into the mind of the main characters. The point of view (POV) of each chapter changes throughout the novel. At first, I compared it to Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN because the family itself is like a small town with 30+ personalities and POVs. However, I soon realized that the chapters are written only from one of the main characters' (either Golden, Trish, or Rusty) or from an omniscient POV. Rusty's chapters are written as if they were thoughts of a 12-year-old. The omniscient chapters are written in generic terms, never naming names, only saying "the father," "the fourth wife," etc.

    Each chapter is another piece to the puzzle, and each chapter provides a story within itself. At some points throughout the novel, I felt that Udall went a little overboard with the descriptions and probably could have edited some scenes to cut the novel down a bit more from its 600 pages. Overall, though, it was extremely well-written and held my interest, wondering what would become of Golden and his brood. In the end, everyone has a decision to make and direction to take that would affect the family unit as a whole.

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Oh yeah you've got to read this

    This is probably one of the funniest books I've read in a long time. It does have a dark side to it but there were spots where I thought I was going to fall out of bed laughing. Golden is so pathetic you can't help but love him and the situations he gets into are just sad.

    For those of you worried that this book is slamming Polygamist, it's not, it actually portrays them in a sensitive caring manner.

    I recommended this to everyone I know that reads.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2010

    sounded promising in the description

    Didn't really like this book. Thought I would from the description, but it bored me. Can't say exactly why, it just didn't grab me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2010

    Family is family

    Being an optimist, I have to say that "The Lonely Polygamist" is a pretty decent read. The author paints a good portrait of a large, polygamist family and writes with a lot of imagery, setting the scenes in your mind. My only complaint is that the author gets TOO caught up in details, adding pages and pages of blabber that I really felt were irrelevant. I skipped quite a few pages and don't feel like I missed any crucial moments or details.
    It's a good read and worth the while, but don't feel bad about skipping over the dry parts.

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    Posted June 25, 2011

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    Posted February 20, 2013

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    Posted April 10, 2011

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