By Tina Jordan
Updated August 20, 2007 04:00 AM

As a fan of HBO’s Big Love, I picked up Shattered Dreams: My Life As a Polygamist’s Wife with fascination — but was quickly turned off by the truly awful writing and by the dreary repetition of Irene Spencer’s life. As the second wife of Verlan LeBaron, a rancher whose spread in Mexico was little more than a dusty patch of land, she shared a barren, rat-infested adobe house with the first wife, Charlotte. Spencer began bearing LeBaron’s children — 13 in all — while he took six more wives. As I read, I kept thinking, she’ll see him for what he really is; she’ll want a better life for her children. But no. Though the filth, the poverty, and the hunger drove her away once, she quickly returned to the fold and was freed only by his death. A truly depressing, unenlightening read. D