Another memoir about a messed-up childhood! You know, I wonder sometimes why I, and my little sister, read so many of these books. We certainly did not have messed up childhoods. For one thing these memoirs are everywhere: easily accessible, quick to read. But for me, I think the appeal is reading how another person lived their life, and sort of testing it against my own abilities. Could I survive like that? It’s the same reason I like to read books about people who have weird jobs or got stranded on mountain tops. Of course, I usually come up with the answer that no, no, I could not have survived that.
Anyway, Anna grew up in a fundamentalist Mormon family as one of 50 children produced by her notorious father, Evril LeBaron. She spent most of her life on the run, only coming in contact with her father a couple of times. Her life was full of a lot of hard physical labor and very little money for food, clothing or other needed expenses. Despite an urge to learn, she was deprived from a normal education for most of her life. Still, unlike a lot of the other women in her family, she realized that this was not the right way or how she wanted to live. When her mother tried moving them back with an abusive member of their tribe after her father went to jail, she resisted, ran away and ended up with her sister who had already broken away from the sect.
Anna’s father ordered blood killings of several men in Anna’s family because they defied him in some way or another, hence his notoriety. He himself died of a massive heart attack in prison. It’s an interesting story, but I wish I had had more information about the background of what was going on versus Anna’s particular story on its own. However, I have read Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven and a lot of it goes together. The most amazing thing to me about her story is that even after writing it all down, Anna’s mother refused to see the harm in how her daughter was raised. That’s how thorough their brainwashing was, and how lucky Anna is to have broken free.