Sunday, September 5, 2010

The 19th Wife

Here is a link to a made for TV movie, which will premier on the Lifetime Network on September 13th.

I am pasting in an interesting review of the book, on which the movie is based below. The author of the short review wishes to remain anonymous, so the only edits to the comments were those designed to maintain anonymity as requested.

"It was decent, but patchy, and I thought at the time it would make a better movie than book. But it got me to read the biography of the book Ebershoff used as a motif, which was the real autobiography of Ann Eliza Young. This was a famous book in the 19th century; she lectured all over the country on the ills of polygamy, was instrumental in the Federal ban with her testimony to Congress, and then faded into obscurity. Some say she's buried in Rochester, which would be fitting since those other fighters for liberty--Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass--are resting there as well.

You can read Ann Eliza Young's book online, here:;

Anyone who is openminded about polygamy after finishing her book is insane.

If it's true to the book it will be highly critical of fundy polygamy. I heard Ebershoff speak and he said he'd interviewed a lot of refugees from the FLDS, including (I think) Flora Jessop.

Ebershoff is one of those rare New York liberals who get it right--he doesn't fall for the idea that the FLDS' problems are "freedom of religion" questions.

Also, it was all a little too symmetrical for my taste--no loose ends.

But the way he ended the novel was very good, and he really captures the terror felt by those women and their children."