The Witness Wore Red- Rebecca Musser with M. Bridget Cook
“The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice”
I rarely read non-fiction. RARELY. I give the interesting non-fiction books to my husband and have him tell me the good parts. The fact that this was non-fiction as well as an autobiographical novel made it twice as hard to get excited. But I found it for 5 bucks at Barnes & Noble and decided to give it a shot anyways.
Emotional Involvement: ★★★
There’s something fascinating about the dynamics of cults. It’s almost irresistible to compare yourself to the members and try to figure out if you would have done things differently: would I have resisted? Run away? Author Becky Musser explains how she had the strength to do just that. Raised in the FLDS community (an offshoot of the early Mormon Church), Becky describes growing up in an isolated community where women are treated and viewed as properly. When a sex-crazed leader (the infamous Warren Jeffs) takes the reigns, things spin out of control into what ends up being the largest Child Protective Services case in US History.
Engaging, enlightening, and at times traumatizing, the author does a great job of shedding light on the evil actions of the men in this community- without losing sight of their humanity. She tells the truth without holding back and clearly wants her reader to have a well rounded understanding of the FLDS community. Even more striking than the community’s story is Becky’s story, as she unlearns years of abuse and discovers how to be human again.
The downside: it could get slow, at times. Maybe there’s a part of me that struggles with non-fiction because I feel like life should move at a feature-film pace, but I sometimes find it hard to finish books like these. Real life is, well, boring- even when you’re escaping from a cult, you still have boring, human days. This doesn’t mean that the author didn’t tell the story well, it just means that she told it accurately. I just feel like I sometimes had a hard time picking it up again after putting it down. Just my personal experience- if you like books like this, it’s a good pick!