In My Father's House: A Memoir of Polygamy
Before Big Love, before the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas a groundbreaking memoir explored polygamy, not with outrage but with honesty and grace. In 1984, when polygamous groups knew little but the fear and pain of secrecy and hiding, Dorothy Allred Solomon, the twenty-eighth of forty-eight children, went public with her family’s story. Descended from five generations of Mormon polygamy, Solomon evokes the fervor and dedication that bound the Allreds to “living the Principle.” She vividly renders the persecution and poverty she knew as a child, the joyous awe of a father’s too-rare presence, and an abiding hunger for autonomy. Confronting the paradox of a faith that seals loved ones as families for eternity but casts them as outlaws in the here and now, she traces the events that culminated in her father’s 1977 assassination, a tragedy that rocked all Utah. Now, more than a quarter century later, Solomon revisits her story in a new preface and epilogue and in light of recent events that continue to rivet attention and spotlight our national struggle for understanding and fairness.
What the Critics Say
"A distinct original." —Kirkus Reviews
"A remarkable testimony to a religious faith that can take in the strangest and harshest of circumstances. It also attests to the universal hunger for order and community, the need to belong, that has sustained the Mormon church through years of persecution and poverty.'' —Washington Post
"Mrs. Solomon's return from alienation to her family's tradition and faith is moving, for it expresses the impulse to retain and affirm a sense of the basic relationships of her life. . . . She writes movingly and skillfully of the way in which an acceptance of the tradition from which she comes has been essential to building a new life in her own generation.'' —Mary Catherine Bateson, New York Times
"This is not an apologist’s defense of polygamy, nor is it an expose of sordid, secret practices. It is, rather, a straightforward look at things as they were for a girl growing up in unusual circumstances—with seven “mothers” and some 47 brothers and sisters. More than that, it is the story of a woman at odds with her world, trying to come to terms with herself. And as such, it is compelling reading. In My Father’s House received the 1981 biography and 1982 publishing awards of the Utah Arts Council Original Writing Competition, honors well deserved both for writing style and content. With honesty and forthrightness, the author opens to the reader a closed world—a world filled with unusual people, perhaps, but people still the same who need empathy and understanding." —Carma Wadley, Deseret News