Day 29 – Sister Wife

26 Jul

No, I’m not thinking of moving to Utah, but sometimes I think it would be wonderful to have another woman around to help with the cooking and cleaning and stuff… okay, I lie, my husband is better than two wives! Really, he is, and he’s all mine. I just finished reading Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka, and I just started reading it on Sunday. I haven’t read a book that quickly in almost ten years.

I must admit that I had a little help today from Aliant, and that’s a story in itself. The short version is this, I was told they’d arrive today to connect fiber-op and that it was an all-day job. Silly me; I assumed that meant the morning. They arrived at 5:00PM. They’ll be back in the morning. I’m thrilled. [Insert dry sarcastic tone here.] All I can say about that is, it better be worth it. Although I was upset at having to be home all day, I did enjoy the fact that my forced confinement allowed me the time to read.

I love the way Hrdlitschka chose to narrate the story using three distinct points of view. With each chapter the author shifts to a different character’s point of view. Either we read through the eyes of Celeste, or her younger sister Nanette, who are both teenagers in the polygamist community where the novel is set, or the outsider Taviana who lives with them after being rescued from a rough life outside their close-knit closed-minded community.

I enjoyed getting to know all three characters, and I must say I saw a little bit of myself in each of them. Nanette reminds me a lot of the way I used to be as a teenager. She sees things in black and white, right or wrong and doesn’t understand people who do not. She’s a rule follower. Celeste questions authority and doesn’t accept things the way others present them to her. She struggles to think for herself though this coming-of-age story. Taviana longs for safety and acceptance, and she easily adapts to her environment and learns to do what is best for herself, and those around her that she cares about.

My favourite part of the novel is in chapter eleven, when Celeste cannot sleep and gets up before dawn and goes to the porch to watch the sunrise:

“The night is still, but as I stand there admiring the shimmering sky, I hear the first bird chirp. It is followed by a second bird and then a third. One by one they welcome the day as the golden, orange and pink hues streak the eastern sky. I sink onto the top step and enjoy the sheer beauty of the sunrise. This is when I feel closest to God, when I truly feel His presence. The stunning display of colors before me is His finest work… God is not in the religious ranting. He is not in the rules, or even in the sacred book. He is here, in the beauty of this divine morning. He is in the music of the birds, in the colors of the sky and even in the goosebumps on my arms.” (pg. 129)

I have to agree with her, Celeste and Hrdlitschka. Certainly we learn something about how the author views God. I, too, feel closest to God when I take the time to appreciate the natural beauty of his creation.

I didn’t realize that the book falls into the teen fiction genre until I went to find the author’s website to link it to my blog post. Also, she is a Canadian author. These are two great reasons to love this novel even more. I’ll definitely be encouraging my students to read this one in the fall.

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One Response to “Day 29 – Sister Wife”

  1. mwboogie July 27, 2011 at 1:19 PM #

    I love your review,I will read this one. I just finished “The Help” last night, which I also thoroughly enjoyed. We like much of the same- keep the recommendations coming! Maybe we should start a teacher’s book club!

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