Tuesday, April 19, 2011

 

Polygamy Sucks

... for women.
I’ve had a bit of a smiley-face on for polygamy ever since I started watching “Big Love.” With the ending of that show (a first-class pie-eyed wimp-out, IMO) my eyes have gone a bit squinty on the subject. “Sister Wives” makes it look so wholesome—and then there was the article on plyg in Canada in The Walrus, and after that a nonfiction book on Bountiful and a memoir of an escapee—the latter rather spectacular. Finally, Hidden Wives by Claire Avery. Nothing new here, information-wise, except for a detailed description of some “temple” practices that recalled that one episode of BL where Barb goes to the temple. Fig leaf aprons over white garments and being pulled through a white sheet, etc. As for the book itself... hm. I could hear the writing instruction hovering in the air: “Don’t say your character is afraid; instead, describe the physical effects of fear.” So this book was full of acid reflux, vomiting, stomachs clenched like fists, burning throats, etc. Except for the gastric distress, the narrating characters were empty—while the others were laughable stereotypes.

For refreshment after that, it was nice to turn to When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. The humour was there, yes, but what struck me reading this collection is the way he collects separate little experiences and brings them together in a way that lets you feel how they may have come together for him, in his own mind. This looks simple, but I’ll bet it has taken a lot of time and effort to learn to do. I’m always having mash-ups going on in my head, but I’ve seen the glazed look on Husband’s face (and he loves me!) when I’ve tried to explain why they matter.

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