Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Reared in a polygamous sect, Dorothy Solomon, the daughter of fundamentalist preacher Rulon Allred, recounts the strife, agony, and secrecy associated with her upbringing. Struggling between the lifestyle she had been taught and the desires of her heart for a more normal life, Solomon details vivid recollections of her father and the constant anxiety shared by his plural wives and family of being caught for violating the law. Amidst the difficult times, she also recalls some pleasant memories of family relationships and gatherings, as well as the splendid natural beauty of Utah.

Through her trials and affliction, Solomon grew to detest her father’s way of living, but never ceased to love, honor, and respect him. His lifestyle finally led to his death at the hands of members of a rival polygamous cult led by Ervil LeBaron. Solomon eventually joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (mainstream Mormons), married a Vietnam veteran, and had four children. Her communications about her new way of life and the contrasting polygamous lifestyle are very insightful.

Although there are a few blatant editing errors, such as referring to President Gordon B. Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints as President “Hickey,” Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in Polygamy is a fascinating read. At times, it is difficult to keep track of all the family members and their interrelationships, because there are so many. The reader can keep the connections straight by taking a few notes. Overall, Solomon’s book is a compelling inside story about plural marriage. It is permeated with love, compassion, coping with adversity, and fulfilling dreams.