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Review: Love Times Three

October 25, 2011

I have an odd fascination with polygamy, so I was very excited to read Love Times Three by Joe, Alina, Valerie, and Vicki Darger.  My expectations were pretty high and I’m happy to report that this book met them.  I found it to be well written, thoughtful, and compelling.  That’s not to say that I agree with everything the Dargers wrote, but I do respect it and have more of an understanding of why they chose plural marriage.

For those not familiar with the Dargers, they’re the family that the popular Showtime show, Big Love, is based on.  They’ve garnered attention as unofficial spokespeople for modern day polygamist.  In Love Times Three, they tell about their backgrounds – they all come from polygamist families – as well as their reasons for seeking plural marriage.  They also give readers a peek into what it takes to make an arrangement like theirs work.  I found this all to be fascinating.  The book is told from the points of view of all four adults, plus some of their older children, and it seems that they tried to give an accurate portrayal of their life – both good and bad.  Rather than give a synopsis of the book, I’ll just give some of the highlights:

  • The Dargers consider themselves to be Independent Fundamentalist Mormons (not to be confused with the FLDS) but don’t belong to an organized church.  The family does hold their own services.
  • For the Dargers, polygamy is a spiritual practice and they believe it’s the only way for them to attain celestial heaven in the afterlife.  They believe celestial heaven is the highest degree of heaven.
  • Each of the wives considers her marriage to be monogamous.
  • They believe that the men who pursue plural marriages have a sincere sense of a higher purpose.
  • The sister-wives believe that the whole purpose of living in a plural marriage is to see how closely they can “model Christ’s teachings about love, acceptance, care, and compassion.”

I listened to the audio version of Love Times Three and it was extremely well done.  It was narrated by James Lurie, Eliza Foss, Kathleen McInerney, and Karla Hendrick and thought they all did a great job.  The women stated the name of the narrator whenever the point of view would switch.  All of the narrators were new to me, but I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to any of them again.

If you enjoy memoirs or reading about polygamy or religion, you won’t want to miss this book!

Review copy provided by Harper Collins. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
33 Comments leave one →
  1. October 25, 2011 6:31 am

    I loved the show Big Love so I think this is a must-read for me.

  2. October 25, 2011 6:34 am

    I would be interested in reading this one. I’d like to read their point of view. Thanks for reviewing this one!

  3. October 25, 2011 6:41 am

    why I like the HBO show Big Love, I don’t really get the whole interest in polygamy. the government is not going to recognize three marriages, so what you have is one guy in a relationship with three women…and that is not big news.

    ok, what I really don’t understand is how they financially support all those kids..

  4. October 25, 2011 8:11 am

    I know you loved this one and I’m anxious to see why! I was a devoted follower of the television series Big Love for years so I’m already interested in the premise.

  5. October 25, 2011 8:20 am

    Oh, I am so grateful I wasn’t drinking my coffee when I read that first line of yours and had to guffaw outloud!

  6. October 25, 2011 8:21 am

    I am also really interested in polygamy and think that this would be an excellent read for me. I have been casting about for another audio after just having finished my last, and it sounds like this is going to be the one. Great review, Kathy! I need this book!

  7. October 25, 2011 9:08 am

    Sounds like a very interesting take on their lifestyle. Thanks for the review!

  8. October 25, 2011 9:59 am

    I have had my eye on this since I saw this family on Dr Phil a few weeks ago. I don’t watch Big Love but I am addicted to Sister Wives and I am just fascinated with polygamy in general. I think it’s interesting that each woman considers her marriage to be monogamous!

  9. October 25, 2011 10:19 am

    I don’t know enough about Polygamy to really support anything I say (LOL) but my tendency is to allow people to live the way they want to, unless the taxpayers are paying for all of those kids. I don’t see how they can financially support themselves without assistance.

  10. October 25, 2011 11:11 am

    Polygamy is one of those “guilty-pleasure-don’t-understand-but-want-to-know-more” type of thing for me. To each his own, and all that. I enjoy learning about it, so might give the audiobook a go.

  11. October 25, 2011 11:20 am

    I really enjoy learning about people and/or lifestyles that are unfamiliar to me, that might stand out as completely bizarre until I look more closely. This sounds like a really great opportunity to do just that … just added this book to my reading list 🙂

  12. October 25, 2011 12:43 pm

    Yes those views do not work at all for me. Men with many wives, they just want wives,plural, more to do

  13. October 25, 2011 1:44 pm

    I’m guilty of watching shows like “Sister Wives” on TV and am fascinated by the polygamist lifestyle, though that’s not something I would choose for myself (eek, the jealousy!). Sounds like a very interesting read/listen!

  14. Stacy permalink
    October 25, 2011 2:05 pm

    My question for anyone in a polygamist arrangement is how do they afford it? It’s definitely a different lifestyle & one I have never quite understood. I find it fascinating as a cultural study aspect…just so different. I imagine if the book is as good as you say & recommend I could learn a lot about this lifestyle & religion. Thanks for the review!

  15. October 25, 2011 2:21 pm

    I don’t agree with the lifestyle but I saw the family on dr Phil and have to say I really liked them!

  16. October 25, 2011 4:08 pm

    I have loved watching Big Love, I think its been so well done. I’m interested in learning more about this real family. Most days I’d be happy to welcome a sister-wife into our home if she would do the housework, but that sharing my husband thing not so welcome…LOL!!
    Thanks for a wonderful review.

  17. October 25, 2011 5:30 pm

    I’m with you, I find this whole subject fascinating as well. Glad to hear it’s so well written. Just might have to check this one out myself!

  18. October 25, 2011 7:36 pm

    Haha I’m so glad you like this subject because I’m like the only person who hasn’t jumped on the polybandwagon. :O)

  19. October 25, 2011 8:35 pm

    I just saw this family somewhere for the first time a week or so ago. I haven’t seen the show BIG LOVE (don’t get the channel), but do watch SISTER WIVES. I find it fascinating as well.

  20. October 25, 2011 9:07 pm

    I’m rather fascinated by polygamy too, from a purely theoretical standpoint of course! I loved the show Big Love, and didn’t know it was based on an actual family.
    Thanks for the recommendation – I’d like to read this book.

  21. October 25, 2011 10:10 pm

    This, for some reason, doesn’t appeal to me. So many children all in one house? How does he afford all that?

  22. October 25, 2011 11:55 pm

    I haven’t seen the HBO show, but I have been watching Sister Wives (on the Discovery Channel I think). I’m fascinated by that different living environment but know that I could never live that way.

  23. October 26, 2011 12:10 pm

    I’ve never seen the show Big Love. Maybe we don’t have it in Canada. I love books and shows on Polygamy. The whole lifestyle fascinates me although I wouldn’t want to live it.

  24. October 26, 2011 12:42 pm

    Just have to plug Kathleen McInerney – she is one of my favorite narrators, especially for YA fiction! I think they won an Audie for this book.

  25. October 26, 2011 4:24 pm

    This looks really interesting – it’s sort of fascinating to me. I’ve seen Sister Wives, and I’m really curious about how this works in a modern family.

  26. October 26, 2011 7:42 pm

    I really enjoyed that show and had no idea who they based it on. I too am fascinated by plural marriages and the idea of sister wives. This sounds like a solid read…one that I’m thinking about picking up!

  27. October 28, 2011 1:36 pm

    I was shying away from this, even though polygamy interests me and I enjoy BIG LOVE, but now you have me changing my mind….

  28. October 28, 2011 10:38 pm

    It is interesting to get some insight into why they make the choice to be polygamous. I keep watching Sister Wives even though I really don’t understand the lifestyle.

  29. October 29, 2011 3:43 pm

    I have never watched Big Love or anything with the Dargers, but I would be curious as to why the women are in this type of arrangement.

  30. October 29, 2011 7:52 pm

    I have never watched Big Love and had never heard of this family until I saw this book in the bookstore earlier this week. It looked kind of interesting but I did not know if it would be tastefully done or kind of skanky. Your review sounds like it is well done and has piqued my interest. As for how they support all of those children, some of them don’t. Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer will give you a whole different perspective.

  31. avisannschild permalink
    November 15, 2011 8:10 pm

    I loved the series Big Love too (and, as you know, am equally fascinated by polygamy), so I must read this. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  32. Mark's one and only wife permalink
    November 19, 2011 10:27 pm

    I find polygamy fascinating and a little sad. If I had to daily watch my husband in relationships with other women, I would go nuts!! I don’t know if these women are admirable for being so selfless or fools for having 1/3 or a husband and marriage. Either way, it fascinates me!

  33. November 23, 2011 10:30 pm

    I’ve always been fascinated by polygamy so this one sounds Interesting to me.

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