Love Times Three: Our True Story of a Polygamous Marriage by Joe, Alina, Vicki and Valerie Darger
Published by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins
Review copy received at SIBA
From the publisher:
He runs his own business and coaches Little League. She drives a minivan, and she’d be lost without her trusty BlackBerry. They go on date nights. Their kids attend public schools, play sports, and take music lessons. They live in a roomy house in the ‘burbs. They’re about as mainstream as families come.
They’re also polygamists.
Love Times Three, the first-ever memoir of a polygamous family, is a riveting inside look at a world most of us can hardly imagine, revealing the extraordinary workings of the Dargers’ day-to-day life.
In this intimate, inside story, the Dargers explain why they chose this path despite the pressures of keeping their relationships secret and the jealousy and personal challenges that naturally ensue, why they believe polygamy should be an accepted lifestyle, and, ultimately, why they hope that by revealing their way of life in public, laws that criminalize their lifestyle might change.
I’m not afraid to admit that the whole concept of polygamy is fascinating to me. I’d venture to say that I’m like most women in that the idea of sharing my husband with another woman is horrifying and not something I’d even consider. What’s fascinating about it is that I’m appalled by the idea, yet completely aware of the fact that there are women who actually choose this life, actually want to share their husbands with another woman, or in this case, with a couple of other women. And I have to admit, in this book the Dargers made me believe that they believe in it, that they truly believe that this is what God wants for them, and that this is the right choice for each one of them individually and for the four of them as a family.
While Love Times Three isn’t the most well-written book out there, the four members of the Darger family presented a compelling case for why their life is just like ours, except for the fact that they have more people in their household than most families. Once I got into the book, I was almost able to forget that I was reading about a polygamist family and instead felt like I was reading about how each of these couples (Joe with each of his wives) met and fell in love, and created a home, family, and life together. I have to say, the four of them come off as incredibly genuine, real, honest people who are just trying to be accepted for who they are, and for who they believe God has created them to be. I couldn’t help making a comparison in my mind to the concept of gay marriage, which I firmly believe should be legal. So many of the arguments the Dargers make for why they should be allowed to be legally married echoed those of the pro-gay marriage arguments that it woke me up and alerted me to the fact that, hey, these people just want their love recognized under the law just like you or I. I gotta say, I can see their point.
This book was honestly a kind of revelation for me. I am still fascinated by this concept, and cannot even imagine living this life myself, but I have to tell you that Love Times Three opened my eyes a bit. If these four people are all consenting adults in their relationship, what’s the harm in that? I think there’s definitely some questions in my mind as far as raising kids to believe that polygamy is the “right” way to do things, but what’s the difference between that and raising kids to believe any particular religion is “right”? Kids grow up and make their own choices anyway. I don’t know. Bottom line, I’m glad I read this one because it forced me to look inside myself and take apart my own preconceived notions, assumptions, and judgement about the polygamous culture and “lifestyle” (although I hate that word when used towards the LGBT community so I probably shouldn’t use it in this context either, but whatever). Anyway … recommended!