Their hands are hot and close together. A strip of white fabric loops between them, tying them together, wrist to wrist.”
“Their mother, Amaranth, drives them. The car pushes forward, endlessly forward, but her eyes are always watching in the rear view mirror, scanning the road behind them for cars.”
What are they running from? Where are they headed?
Amaranth, the first of 50 wives, has taken her daughters and is running from her polygamist husband Zachariah. Certain that he will follow she has driven four days without stopping until she falls asleep at the wheel and finally crashes her car. The girls know nothing about the outside world because they have lived their entire lives on the family compound. Amaranth is wise to the outside world and has allowed herself to be lovingly sheltered in the arms of Zachariah, but has also found comfort and security in the friendship and familial ties of her sister wives.
As I read I was intrigued by the girls and their thoughts of where they came from and their reactions to the world at large, but what most puzzled me was Amaranth. Why would someone choose to enter into such a relationship and accept the concept of sharing ones husband with 49 other women? The reality is that people have chosen, for one reason or another, to enter into cults, monastic life, religious life etc. for centuries.
FAIR WARNING THERE IS A RANT APPROACHING!
This book has truly hit a nerve with me. There is a young girl I know that has decided to leave her family and enter a convent. A life that will take her away from her family for all intents and purposes forever (after 5 years she’ll be able to spend a week a year with her family, there will be very little communication allowed). I understand her calling, but I understand her parents’ fear and grief. From her perspective they are overreacting to her decision by deciding not to support the remainder of her college tuition. From their perspective I’m sure it feels like the death of a child – she’s leaving her family, her home, her friends. Someone said it sounds like a cult and this may not be very p.c. but I understand that. We look at the cults of today and yesterday and point out how damaging to our society they are. I reject the notion that in order to succeed at any calling one needs to cut ties with one’s family. I’m angry at a community/cult that would require that.
END OF RANT!
Like the white strap tying the girls to one another we are tied to our families (genetic and chosen) forever. That invisible strap can mean safety and security or it can mean bondage and suffering.
Peggy Riley has done a glorious job of writing about cult/polygamy life. Recommended.