Irene Spencer's memoir of her life in a polygamous religious cult is truly a tribute to the limits of human endurance and suffering. Although difficult to keep up with the confusingly long list of wives, children and step and half relatives, the story of polygamy, abject poverty, mental and physical suffering and abuse, betrayal, lust and murder is a powerful tale, by turns amusing, depressing, touching and horrifying. It underscores man's inhumanity to man and how people will use manipulation to get what they want and religous zeal to gain power and justify their action. It opened my eyes to atrocities I never knew existed. I would suggest reading Spencer's "Shattered Dreams" memoir first and think both books would be improved if they had been combined together into one instead. My heart goes out to all the women and children ensnared in this lifestyle.
Having been born an umpteenth generational Georgian, I have been a fan of GWTW since my first encounter with the movie at age fourteen. Of course I have read the novel, but wanted to add this audiobook to my collection of all things GWTW. I did however, hold my breath about hearing someone's idea of what Southeners are supposed to sound like. You would be surprised at how often it is done so tooth-grating awful a real Southener can't stand to listen, and there are some movies I just can't watch due to the butchering of our dialect. Linda Stephens not only got it right, but did a good job with the dozens of voices. Must have been quite a chore to get through the entire tome, but she did it well and never failed or sounded bored. It was a joy to listen to.
When you have 3 places to live and you are forced to sell 2 of them, you are not a "bag lady." Being afraid of losing your hair stylist because you can't imagine highlighting your own hair, or having to do your own nails does not elicit sympathy from most people I know. It was disgusting to hear the author go on about parties and dinners on the town she could now not attend, and the crystal and jewelry, etc. etc. Yes, losing her savings was unfair; a big shock and disappointment, I am sure, but that hardly equates to being a bag lady. She just got to the place where most of us have been living all along. When you have no job, no money, no prospects, no place to live (on the street), no food (as in empty pantry - not can't eat out at an expensive restaurant), clothes (designer or otherwise) or friends who help you every step of the way - that's a bag lady. Most of us have pinched pennies and worked hard all our lives without ever once having any of those luxuries this one keeps whining about losing.
It is absolutely shocking that these types of crimes are committed against women and children in today's America under the guise of "religious freedom". Why is there a public outcry against what happens to women in the middle east and yet this goes on right in our own backyard? "Stolen Innocence" is a riveting tale of one young woman's childhood growing up in the cult-like Fundamental Latter Day Saints sect (FLDS) and the brainwashed servitude it expects of the women and children under its control who are allowed no say in their own lives. A shocking and sadly appalling true story.
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