Book Review – Becoming Sister Wives

Becoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional MarriageBecoming Sister Wives: The Story of an Unconventional Marriage by Kody Brown

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

I have a few “guilty pleasures” that have to do with reality tv, which my husband thinks is mind-numbing and should be banned. One of those pleasures is The Bachelor. The other, I’ll admit it, is Sister Wives, a TLC production about a family from a polygamous Mormon sect in the western US. This book is purported to tell the history of that family and explain some of the background that the TV show does not.

The problem is, the book reads a lot less like a memoir than it does a therapy session where each member of the family is writing apologies and explanations to the others. There’s a lot of “it’s my fault my sister wife was mad at me for X though I didn’t know it would make her mad at the time and gee I wish we could make up now”. And there’s some “I saw that this emotional reaction was stemming from X but there was nothing I could do to stop it, and I’m sorry that I let us all explode.” And other stuff of that nature.

And when that’s not going on, there’s a lot of repetitiveness. I get it, the basis of the book is for each of the women to tell the story of their background, their relationships, and their launch to fame in their own words. Cool. But you know what? When they tell the same stories in only very slightly different ways I get bored. And I wonder what was wrong with their editor, that they couldn’t scrape out some of the different versions of the same scene for something even slightly different and more interesting.

Those are the bad parts.

The good parts are that you can clearly hear the voices you are familiar with from the show in their written words. You learn a little bit more about their history. I’ve seen probably 75% of the shows that have aired in the series, and already knew about 50 – 60% of the material in the book. If you follow the show, you’ll have the same issue. But that means that almost half or so is new stuff, and some of that gave me some insight into the family that had been severely lacking when I was watching the show. Yeah, I already knew about Christine’s blow up over the Robyn’s-wedding-dress issue, but didn’t know she’d walked off set for three days. I already knew that they’d courted others in the past, but didn’t know one was only 17 (Granted, Meri and Kody were young then, too!) since they are so against underage brides. So yeah, there’s some dirt. There’s some interesting stuff.

But you probably aren’t going to be all that interested unless you’re already a fan. There’s not enough drama for an audience who isn’t already invested in this story. It’s okay for fans. It’s a very fast, light read. I did enjoy it in more places than I didn’t, I think, so if you are curious give it a go, but be prepared to skim sections that get slow.

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