*** Winner of the 2005 Vancity Prize for the best book published in British Columbia on women’s issues. ***
Best Selling Author, Dr. Dave Perrin, co-authored Keep Sweet with Debbie Palmer so that readers could understand what it would be like to be a young girl growing up in the polygamous Mormon community of Bountiful. The foreword was written by Jon Krakuer, author of Into Thin Air, Into the Wild, and Under the Banner of Heaven.
Although the book is set in the early 50’s and 60’s, Debbie’s experiences are representative of those that many children of polygamous groups are currently experiencing.
Keep Sweet is non-fiction, but names have been changed to protect the safety and privacy of people mentioned. Based on Palmer’s early memories, letters, and diaries, the memoir takes the reader inside the daily lives of children, sister-wives, husbands and leaders and provides an in-depth insight into the teachings of the fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Palmer’s story begins when her father takes her to the polygamous community near Creston, BC in 1957. We follow Debbie from age two as she struggles to integrate into a strange society and culture. At age fifteen she becomes the sixth wife to the community’s fifty-five year old leader. Keep Sweet follows Debbie’s trials until the death of her husband in 1974.
Palmer remained in the community until 1988 when, pregnant with her seventh child, she managed to escape. Debbie currently lives in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan with some of her eight children. She has completed some College and University Studies. She is the author of various bodies of research, a human rights activist, community crime prevention educator and advocate. She has consulted with and been the topic of several documentaries on the topic of Polygamy in North America.
Authors: Debbie Palmer, Dr. Dave Perrin
Illustrations: Wendy Liddle