Golden Richards may have four wives and twenty-eight children, but he's a lonely man. So lonely, in fact, that he can't help but fall in love for the first time in his life. But he's not the only one in the immense family to feel isolated. Trish, wife #4, is also terribly lonesome and buries herself in romantic novels. And despite the fact that eleven-year-old Rusty is surrounded by siblings, he cannot find a single person - either adult or child - with whom to connect.The Lonely Polygamist
may be a study in human isolation, but the story itself is hilarious. In the tradition of authors such as John Irving and Richard Russo, Brady Udall does a remarkable job of entertaining the reader. He describes outrageous incidents that could only happen in a family as large as the Richards'. After reading the book, it will be impossible to ever think of chewing gum in the same way.
The protagonist Golden Richards, could have been depicted as an exploiter of women and children, but instead, he is a sympathetic character. Although he's let his family down by not giving them the love and attention they need, the reader can sympathize with his plight. He, like the other members of his family, is a victim of circumstance.
The one flaw in the story is the ending. I was very frustrated by the decisions that some of the characters made. The members of the Richards clan seemed trapped in their desperate lives and unable to escape, even when given the opportunity. Although, after reading the book and getting to know the characters, it doesn't seem likely that the book could end any other way.