Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Love Times Three by Joe, Alina, Vicki, and Valerie Darger

Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage 

Reviewed by Ingrid

Published: 2011

It's about: Joe Darger has three wives - Alina, Vicki, and Valerie. Along with journalist Brooke Adams (the polygamy contributor for The Salt Lake Tribune,) in this memoir they explain why they chose to live this lifestyle and attempt to debunk false notions many, if not most people have about polygamy. Because polygamy is a felony in the state of Utah, the Darger's took a big chance publishing this book. They hope that people will see that they are normal, respectable people, not criminals. They hope to someday see the decriminalization of polygamy in the state of Utah.

The Dargers also explain their religious beliefs and share details of how they organize their day-to-day lives in one house with 20+ children.

I thought: I liked this book a lot. There are so many books out there about how horrible and abusive polygamy is (with titles like Escape, Favorite Wife, The Bigamist, Prophet's Prey, Church of Lies, Stolen Innocence, etc etc.) But, as this book attests, there are also many honest, good, educated people who practice polygamy. Anything that encourages empathy and open mindedness I support 100%, so I am all over this book.

I particularly liked the little details the wives shared about their daily lives. In one chapter,  Alina describes their home:

"We made decorating decisions together for the common areas of our home ... the common rooms are modestly furnished, in a traditional style and neutral colors. We let our designer talents shine in the bedrooms. Mine is traditional, with a robin's-egg blue and chocolate color scheme. Vicki's room has a Victorian look, while Val's bedroom has a beach cottage theme that uses shades of pink, green, and dusty blue."

This passage endeared the Darger family to me. I loved details like this. They're just like us, you guys! But seriously.

Verdict: Stick it on the shelf.

via Harper Collins
Reading Recommendations: If you're interested in polygamy, I highly recommend you supplement readings of other, mostly negative memoirs with this positive one. I find that reading about polygamy from multiple points of view greatly increases my understanding and empathy for those whose lifestyle I don't necessarily agree with.

If you're interested in learning more about the Darger's, check out their website or follow them on twitter. They also were on NPR to discuss their book on Talk of the Nation.

Warnings: None, trust me. These people come from a very conservative background. Though we're all curious, they don't expand at all on what goes on in the bedroom. (Though I'm a little ashamed to admit it - I'm DYING to know what the wedding night was like after Joe married Vicki and Alina on the same day.)

Favorite excerpts:
"Val, and I each believe we are Joe’s eternal soul mate. But we consider each other to be soul mates, too. It’s that belief in our female connection that drives our commitment to each other and gets us through tough times. Our friendship and love have grown over the years, to the point where the little jealousies are far outweighed by the knowledge that my sister wives always have my back."

What I'm reading next: Hippie Boy by Ingrid Ricks

Other books I've reviewed about polygamy:
Hidden Wives by Claire Avery
Daughter of the Saints by Dorothy Allred Solomon
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall