Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka is told from the alternating points of view of three teenagers living in the polygamous community of Unity: rebellious Celeste, a 14-year-old girl who is about to be “assigned” to an older man and become a sister wife; virtuous Nanette, Celeste’s younger sister; and Taviana, a young woman who was rescued off the streets by one of the men in the community. This is an interesting device because it allows Hrdlitschka to explore what it would be like to live in Unity from three very different points of view. For the most part, I enjoyed the book: I sympathized with Celeste’s plight and was curious to find out what would happen to her. I particularly loved how Hrdlitschka used the inuksuks to introduce Celeste to another way of looking at the world. Unfortunately, I also felt that Hrdlitschka tried too hard to be non-judgemental, which made the book both less interesting and less realistic. The last chapter in particular seemed to be suggesting that polygamy is just another lifestyle choice that works for some and not for others, which is a dangerous message in my opinion.* In addition, the denouement of Celeste’s story didn’t strike me as particularly realistic. Having said that, I’m still going to recommend Sister Wife, with reservations, to readers who are interested in polygamy, if only because I want to know what you think of the ending!
For other reviews, visit these blogs:
Abby (the) Librarian • A Patchwork of Books • Becky’s Book Reviews • Book Addiction • Bookshelves of Doom • Maw Books • S. Krishna’s Books • Teen Book Review • The Book Zombie
Thank you to Cindy at Cindy’s Love of Books for giving me this book to read.
This is the sixth book I review for the New Authors Challenge.
*I’m not suggesting that polygamy is inherently wrong, only that being married off to an older man at the age of 15 is not a lifestyle choice. It actually isn’t a choice at all.