Sister Wife (Young Adult Novels)

Sister Wife (Young Adult Novels) - Shelley Hrdlitschka Sister Wife takes place an isolated, deeply religious community that is based on plural marriages. A lot of reviews throw around the words Latter Day Saints and Mormons. In fact, the member of the teen book club who is Mormon did not attend the meeting where we discussed this book. There was some evidence that she wondered if she would be called out, which I can understand her wanting to avoid. But I like to think that this book is less about Mormonism and more about fundamentalism in general. The community in question is never precisely identified with any religion, other than some references to Jesus and the fact that it encourages plural marriages. Mormonism is not the only religious movement to fit those criteria, and the majority of Mormon communities do not resemble the Movement described in Sister Wife. The narrative is told from the point of view of three girls in the community. Celeste who is beginning to question the tenets of the Movement, her sister Nanette, who embraces them with all her heart, and Taviana, who was taken in by one of the leaders who found her turning tricks on the street of the town nearest the community and who considers the Movement a safe peace, but does not especially concern her with the religious aspect of its world. The three points of view are nicely balanced and developed, and you do feel a connection with all three girls. I won't say you end up liking them, because Nanette bugged me more than a little, but even so, I felt a lot of sympathy for her because her attitude to life is a direct result of the lack of choices she has been given. Occasionally there was a little confusion between Nanette's and Celeste's voices, enough that I had to go back a couple paragraphs, but not enough to make me put down the book. I was disappointed with the end of the book, which seems to hurry more than a little toward its end. I also rolled my eyes at the 180 Celeste made regarding motherhood at the moment her child was born. It would have been more believable to me if there had been a slower growth of the mother/child connection over the course of the pregnancy or alternatively in the first weeks after the baby birth.I was also disappointed with the shunning of Taviana, a former sex worker, who seems content to stay in town, but won't attend school because the kids there know of her past. Having grown up in a small town, I'm not sure that staying out of school would have saved her from bullying, and I'm also uncomfortable with the implication that once having been in the sex trade, one must wear it like the mark of Cain and can never leave it behind. The author also gives a brief nod to the dissatisfaction men might have in the Movement, the boys seeing all the girls their age married to the older men of the community, those older men having to support so many children and referee the squabbles inherent in such large families, but this is primarily a feminine book, concentrating on those girls and women who are raised without awareness of the other choices existing in the world, serving as reminder that women are being oppressed not only in faraway countries, but also in our own. Cate