THE 19th WIFE

Nowadays I am reading The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff. The narrative is full of jolts. Jolts to your senses, “Did people like that existed in this country?” And still exist? You ask yourself. Ann Eliza Young separates from her husband Brigham Young, (who considers himself a prophet) and he is leader of the Mormon Church. She embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States.

Side by side is the story of a young man from present day Utah. His mother is on death row for killing her husband which in reality she didn’t. This story brings out what is hidden from the public eye. Imagine a man having fifty two wives or more and hundred and fifty or more children. He can rape his own daughter and gets married to his own niece and so on. And all this is done in the name of God. You get a horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach while reading it.

I can’t imagine sharing one’s husband with another woman. To me living my life like that would be worse than death, or better to be dead than alive. In the days gone by whenever the topic turned to death and I asked my husband if I am no longer alive what will he do? Promptly with a twinkle in his green eyes, he would reply that he will get another wife, giving reasons that he will need someone to cook and clean and look after him. as if he was a baby. He would never say that he would miss me and would never marry again, what I wanted to hear. I used to threaten him by saying if he did get married I would haunt him. As if that would have deterred him!

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