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Camilla, a Biography of Camilla Eyring Kimball

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Camilla Eyring was born in 1894 in the Mormon colonies of northern Mexico. At seventeen she fled with her family from the dangers of revolution and was sent alone to Utah to finish high school and earn her own way into the world. Camilla tells her story, often in her own words, recounting her heritage, her high-spirited youth, and her struggles and triumphs as wife, mother Camilla Eyring was born in 1894 in the Mormon colonies of northern Mexico. At seventeen she fled with her family from the dangers of revolution and was sent alone to Utah to finish high school and earn her own way into the world. Camilla tells her story, often in her own words, recounting her heritage, her high-spirited youth, and her struggles and triumphs as wife, mother, citizen, and individual. The book is packed with human interest: her childhood fear that she was going insane; her father's plural marriage; flight from Mexican revolutionaries; the insecurities of a poor but proud teenage girl; a whirlwind courtship and marriage; the terror of having a child stricken with polio; the frightening responsibility of wife of a General Authority; the exhilaration of travel; the anguish of watching her husband suffer through numerous physical infirmities. The woman who emerges is shy but warm, highly intelligent, refreshingly candid, deeply faithful, independent to a fault, unswervingly loyal, and reassuringly human.


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Camilla Eyring was born in 1894 in the Mormon colonies of northern Mexico. At seventeen she fled with her family from the dangers of revolution and was sent alone to Utah to finish high school and earn her own way into the world. Camilla tells her story, often in her own words, recounting her heritage, her high-spirited youth, and her struggles and triumphs as wife, mother Camilla Eyring was born in 1894 in the Mormon colonies of northern Mexico. At seventeen she fled with her family from the dangers of revolution and was sent alone to Utah to finish high school and earn her own way into the world. Camilla tells her story, often in her own words, recounting her heritage, her high-spirited youth, and her struggles and triumphs as wife, mother, citizen, and individual. The book is packed with human interest: her childhood fear that she was going insane; her father's plural marriage; flight from Mexican revolutionaries; the insecurities of a poor but proud teenage girl; a whirlwind courtship and marriage; the terror of having a child stricken with polio; the frightening responsibility of wife of a General Authority; the exhilaration of travel; the anguish of watching her husband suffer through numerous physical infirmities. The woman who emerges is shy but warm, highly intelligent, refreshingly candid, deeply faithful, independent to a fault, unswervingly loyal, and reassuringly human.

30 review for Camilla, a Biography of Camilla Eyring Kimball

  1. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Much of this book was written in the first person by Sister Kimball herself. At first, I was surprised to read of all the memories recorded that seemed “less than perfect” — about how Camilla hated feeling out-of-style when she moved from Mexico to Utah or how she once climbed out of a bathroom window to avoid a date. She was the oldest of a large polygamous family, so when she got married, she didn’t invite her sibilngs because she was afraid they would tease her. She seemed … human. It’s those Much of this book was written in the first person by Sister Kimball herself. At first, I was surprised to read of all the memories recorded that seemed “less than perfect” — about how Camilla hated feeling out-of-style when she moved from Mexico to Utah or how she once climbed out of a bathroom window to avoid a date. She was the oldest of a large polygamous family, so when she got married, she didn’t invite her sibilngs because she was afraid they would tease her. She seemed … human. It’s those less-than-perfect moments, more frequent in the first half of the book, that seemed to give me hope for myself (currently quite less-than-perfect), for she also had many, many “heroic” moments later in life. She and her husband had their share of health problems, but she didn’t let her own pain get in her way and did her best to support and care for her husband. I was reading a story about a horrific car accident she went through as I was waiting for a delayed plane at the airport, and suddenly my own problems of caring for a busy one-year-old in the terminal seemed inconsequential compared to the things she had overcome. I enjoyed this book — learning about the lives of Latter-day Saint women encourages me to rise up and be a better person.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Susan Jane

    Another great accompaniment to the biography of Spencer W. Kimball. Many of the stories in this book are found in President Kimball’s biography as well, just told from Camilla’s perspective. It was refreshing and unique to “hear the other side of the story”.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Autumn Sage

    I enjoyed this book and found it interesting. I loved that it was taken mostly from her journals and so it was the real, every day life. It shows such an interesting side of the church in earlier days, starting out in the Colonia Juarez with polygamist parents and through a life that led her to be the wife of a prophet. It was filled with worry and heartache and struggles and you get to see a side that isn't usually seen in a prominent figure. I didn't feel, however that I got very much of the s I enjoyed this book and found it interesting. I loved that it was taken mostly from her journals and so it was the real, every day life. It shows such an interesting side of the church in earlier days, starting out in the Colonia Juarez with polygamist parents and through a life that led her to be the wife of a prophet. It was filled with worry and heartache and struggles and you get to see a side that isn't usually seen in a prominent figure. I didn't feel, however that I got very much of the spiritual side -- more the timeline history. I feel like in contrast with Marjorie Hinckley's biography, there you feel that you can open any page and be inspired to be better. This was interesting history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    'becca

    It was a lovely book. I think we often make those in leadership and their wives into "larger than life" people. I appreciated seeing that Camilla was just "people". Well, nobody's "just" anything. Everyone's important. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and our own stages of progression. Her strengths blew me away. I appreciate her example, and that she was real. It was a lovely book. I think we often make those in leadership and their wives into "larger than life" people. I appreciated seeing that Camilla was just "people". Well, nobody's "just" anything. Everyone's important. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and our own stages of progression. Her strengths blew me away. I appreciate her example, and that she was real.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Impossible to find, but wonderful to read if you can get your hands on it. It's the biography of Camilla Kimball, wife of President Spencer W. Kimball. My daughter was named after her. Impossible to find, but wonderful to read if you can get your hands on it. It's the biography of Camilla Kimball, wife of President Spencer W. Kimball. My daughter was named after her.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    a true genuine woman whose faith and determination will motivate anyone to move forward.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Fanchon

    Found this book in the free section of my local library and since I like biographies and have a fascination with Mormon culture I picked it up. It was interesting to learn about her early life in a polygamous family, her marriage to Spencer and his rise through the ranks of LDS hierarchy to become president and 'prophet' of their church. She was a strong and frugal woman. I admired her stamina as she traveled far and wide in her old age. Found this book in the free section of my local library and since I like biographies and have a fascination with Mormon culture I picked it up. It was interesting to learn about her early life in a polygamous family, her marriage to Spencer and his rise through the ranks of LDS hierarchy to become president and 'prophet' of their church. She was a strong and frugal woman. I admired her stamina as she traveled far and wide in her old age.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cathi

    I loved learning more about Sister Kimball, who was such an amazing woman. This book is funny and light-hearted and also deeply spiritual and moving. The best thing about it is that it is very REAL. In spite of her many accomplishments and being so well-known among the membership of our church, Sister Kimball was incredibly down-to-earth, and that's why I loved her so much. I loved learning more about Sister Kimball, who was such an amazing woman. This book is funny and light-hearted and also deeply spiritual and moving. The best thing about it is that it is very REAL. In spite of her many accomplishments and being so well-known among the membership of our church, Sister Kimball was incredibly down-to-earth, and that's why I loved her so much.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Danni

    good book. I guess I didn't know much about her. She was an amazing woman. good book. I guess I didn't know much about her. She was an amazing woman.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    What an incredible life! She is so down-to-earth and hard-working.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jeannie

    I remember that the writing really wasn't really 5 star writing, but I am giving this one 5 stars because it inspired me and taught me so much about being a wife and mother. I read this shortly after I was married, and Sister Kimball's example taught me more about running an LDS home than any of the how-to books at the time. Not that I've mastered very much of it yet... I had met Sister Kimball while at BYU, so this was a much anticipated book for me. During my years at BYU the General Authoriti I remember that the writing really wasn't really 5 star writing, but I am giving this one 5 stars because it inspired me and taught me so much about being a wife and mother. I read this shortly after I was married, and Sister Kimball's example taught me more about running an LDS home than any of the how-to books at the time. Not that I've mastered very much of it yet... I had met Sister Kimball while at BYU, so this was a much anticipated book for me. During my years at BYU the General Authorities wives came to campus and held stake firesides for the sisters during the General Priesthood session of General Conference. Our ward was blessed to host the fireside with Sister Kimball. From that evening on, I knew that I wanted to emulate her. When she spoke for the first time that evening, many of us jumped a little, for out of that petite and delicate looking body came this strong, confident, and powerful voice. It was a defining moment in my young life. I have not been afraid to speak with a strong voice since that evening. So the truth is, I'll probably give anything by or about Sister Kimball 5 stars and will recommend any of it to everyone. She was an amazing woman and I am so grateful to have had her example during my young adult years.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    The writing was far from being anything special, but the content was excellent. She had such an interesting life - polygamist parents, born in Mexico, a refugee in America at 17, a teacher, mother to four, wife to the President of the Church, world traveler, etc. I am inspired by her tirelessness. Despite a crazy life in the public eye and a husband who had very delicate health (hers wasn't the best either), she took the time to have luncheons, can fruits and vegetables, bake bread, send gifts, The writing was far from being anything special, but the content was excellent. She had such an interesting life - polygamist parents, born in Mexico, a refugee in America at 17, a teacher, mother to four, wife to the President of the Church, world traveler, etc. I am inspired by her tirelessness. Despite a crazy life in the public eye and a husband who had very delicate health (hers wasn't the best either), she took the time to have luncheons, can fruits and vegetables, bake bread, send gifts, give book reviews, and do her visiting teaching. I am highly impressed by what they say about her cooking skills, and that she entertained sometimes hundreds of guests at a time, and she did just about all of the preparation. She seems so knowledgeable about preserving food. In one place it talks about how she made pickles out of watermelon rinds. Wow. And it she was able to use every scrap to death and it always tasted amazing apparently. She was also very slow to show physical discomfort outwardly so as not to worry her family.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kathrine Holyoak

    While I give her sparkle and example a 6 star review, the author (her son) rates only a 1 or 2 with me, so that explains my average of 3 star rating. I wish she'd written an autobiography instead of coaching her son through a biography. The clips of her own writing (I assume from her journal and other letters) is how I fell in love with her. It is where how "real" she is came shining through. She could express emotions and thoughts her son would have felt disrespectful summarizing, thus his writ While I give her sparkle and example a 6 star review, the author (her son) rates only a 1 or 2 with me, so that explains my average of 3 star rating. I wish she'd written an autobiography instead of coaching her son through a biography. The clips of her own writing (I assume from her journal and other letters) is how I fell in love with her. It is where how "real" she is came shining through. She could express emotions and thoughts her son would have felt disrespectful summarizing, thus his writing felt much more sanatized. My other overwhelming thought on her life shattered a long standing myth of mine. I assumed the Lord would make the life of a prophet's wife pretty darn managable and even enjoyable. Doesn't she at least deserve that? Camilla suffered heartaches and health issues beyond my limits. Emma Smith should have shattered that myth long before I read of Camilla's life, but I assumed modern, non-pioneer women were exempt. Camilla is more woman than I ever want to be.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Question: What does it take to become the wife of a prophet? Answer: Absolutely nothing, girls! Camilla Kimball was the most ordinary woman you could imagine. But she DID have the sense to marry a really righteous man. Otherwise, you couldn’t pick her out of a crowd. She worried about her clothes, and being liked. Once, when she and Spencer were at a Rotary convention, she sipped some liquor because she wondered what it tasted like. Camilla’s childhood in Mexico interested me because it parallel Question: What does it take to become the wife of a prophet? Answer: Absolutely nothing, girls! Camilla Kimball was the most ordinary woman you could imagine. But she DID have the sense to marry a really righteous man. Otherwise, you couldn’t pick her out of a crowd. She worried about her clothes, and being liked. Once, when she and Spencer were at a Rotary convention, she sipped some liquor because she wondered what it tasted like. Camilla’s childhood in Mexico interested me because it paralleled my Grandma Allen’s childhood. Both families were polygamists, they had farms and orchards, and they were driven out by rebels in 1912 and lost everything. They started over again in Arizona, and had to build new lives for themselves. My Grandma Allen was four years younger, but still, she and Camilla might have known each other! Overall, this book is a great treatise on how an ordinary woman can lead an extraordinary life. Just marry a prophet!

  15. 5 out of 5

    classicsreader

    read this when I was about fifteen. I found it extremely repetitive then. I can see now why I did. I also think that I could overlook that now, however, and get much, much more out of it than when I was younger. I admit taht I read it then because it was the only book that was an autobiography that appeared to be at my reading and comprehension level. The library did not have a very big selection of autobiography and I had to have a report done by the end of the weekend or something like that. I read this when I was about fifteen. I found it extremely repetitive then. I can see now why I did. I also think that I could overlook that now, however, and get much, much more out of it than when I was younger. I admit taht I read it then because it was the only book that was an autobiography that appeared to be at my reading and comprehension level. The library did not have a very big selection of autobiography and I had to have a report done by the end of the weekend or something like that. It wasn't very much time, or I would have looked harder to find something that probably would have been more age appropriate, but I dont know if there was such a thing really very available. I even tried looking after the report was done. It did encourage my interest in the genre. Of course after reading an autobiography, the next assignment was to write one. I probably lost some of my interest, however, after that.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Haley

    While this wasn't the most well written book I've ever read, I still enjoyed reading it and came to appreciated the rawness of it. It almost felt more like reading individual diary entries, which to me gave it a personal feel. It did jump around a bit with the timeline which was confusing at times. I felt it was worth reading because I definitely came away inspired and wanting to be a better person. It gave me insights on parenting, hard work, and faithful service which I hope I can implement in While this wasn't the most well written book I've ever read, I still enjoyed reading it and came to appreciated the rawness of it. It almost felt more like reading individual diary entries, which to me gave it a personal feel. It did jump around a bit with the timeline which was confusing at times. I felt it was worth reading because I definitely came away inspired and wanting to be a better person. It gave me insights on parenting, hard work, and faithful service which I hope I can implement in my life.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I enjoyed getting to read Camilla's perspective of many of the same things I'd just read in her husband, President Kimball's biography. She truly seemed to enjoy the private life, the life with her family, but rose to the occasional that her husband's calling brought them in a lot more scrutiny and adulation. Also, her biography covered up to a later period than President Kimball's did, so there were other things I'd been curious about in hers that weren't there in his, because he hadn't lived t I enjoyed getting to read Camilla's perspective of many of the same things I'd just read in her husband, President Kimball's biography. She truly seemed to enjoy the private life, the life with her family, but rose to the occasional that her husband's calling brought them in a lot more scrutiny and adulation. Also, her biography covered up to a later period than President Kimball's did, so there were other things I'd been curious about in hers that weren't there in his, because he hadn't lived them yet. Both were easy reads, and I'd highly recommend them.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    I enjoyed reading about this amazingly wonderful woman. It is a neat insight into her work and support. This makes a good read for motivation to do better. This book illustrated her life and shared some insight into the person she was--canning, cooking, planning, associating with people--all the work she did to be a good mother, wife, neighbor, friend, citizen, and to suppport her husband in his many church callings.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cassidy

    I liked this book, but am giving it three stars because I wanted more. I wanted more description, more depth, more complexity. I understand the limitations that may have existed -- it was written when she was alive and shortly after her husband became the prophet. But I think there still could have been more. That said, it is refreshing and frank. She was interesting and flawed and inspirational. Definitely a good read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Traci

    Camilla Kimball, the wife of previous LDS prophet Spencer W. Kimball, is a most amazing woman. My favorite thing about her is her human-ness. I can appreciate her candid discussion of her adolescent insecurities, and I love her for her faith even in great adversity. She was in every way a match for her husband, a most powerful and inspiring leader. This is a fantastic biography/autobiography of a most inspiring LDS woman.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lowell

    I read this because of a friend's review on Goodreads (thank you, Heather!). A solid, brief book about a good woman. Great! Personal note: I never like the final 20 pages of biographies for people who are still alive. Their story is still being told, and the most recent history can't be put in proper context. They seem to skim a few key points to briefly fill in details and try to end with a "springboard" rather than a "conclusion." Apart from that, I love it. I read this because of a friend's review on Goodreads (thank you, Heather!). A solid, brief book about a good woman. Great! Personal note: I never like the final 20 pages of biographies for people who are still alive. Their story is still being told, and the most recent history can't be put in proper context. They seem to skim a few key points to briefly fill in details and try to end with a "springboard" rather than a "conclusion." Apart from that, I love it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This book makes me want to read more about the wives of the prophets. Sister Kimball lived an amazing life. You really get to see what her fears and challenges were and how real of a person she was. For example, she overlooked that Spencer was wearing white socks when she first met him. And she loved clothes, but never really had them and that was hard for her, especially in high school and college. Much of the book is from her own voice. It was wonderful!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Inspiring. I was surprised to read that Camilla was a refugee from Mexico as a young girl. Her family lost everything. She often battled with illness, her own and her husband's. She loved her family. She pinched pennies. She bottled watermelon rinds (pickled) because she couldn't stand to waste them. There was one person she didn't like (page 189). She saved leftover meat in a bag from an airplane flight, then wrote about it in her journal. She was human. She loved life (page 211). Inspiring. I was surprised to read that Camilla was a refugee from Mexico as a young girl. Her family lost everything. She often battled with illness, her own and her husband's. She loved her family. She pinched pennies. She bottled watermelon rinds (pickled) because she couldn't stand to waste them. There was one person she didn't like (page 189). She saved leftover meat in a bag from an airplane flight, then wrote about it in her journal. She was human. She loved life (page 211).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    A good biograpy about a GREAT woman. I loved the journal excerpts throughout the book. Makes me wish I kept a better journal. There were many inspiring and uplifting passages in it. However, I think it was a bit disjointed and lacked "something" in the writing. Still I am very glad I read it. It gave me a lot to think about as a wife, mother & disciple of Christ. A good biograpy about a GREAT woman. I loved the journal excerpts throughout the book. Makes me wish I kept a better journal. There were many inspiring and uplifting passages in it. However, I think it was a bit disjointed and lacked "something" in the writing. Still I am very glad I read it. It gave me a lot to think about as a wife, mother & disciple of Christ.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Haley

    Initially, I was hesitant about this biography, because the writing seemed juvenile and choppy; but, in the end, I found myself pleasantly surprised. Camilla was an inspiring woman with spirit and spunk. Her story of faith, hard work, and dedication to family and church is worth knowing and sharing with others. I strongly recommend this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Missy

    It has been years since I read this book but I loved it. Pres Kimball was the prophet when I was a child. The wives of the prophets always seem so perfect and now that I am a wife and mother it was so great to read this book and realize that Sister Kimball is an amazing woman but also so down to earth. It is out of print but if anyone can find a copy it is well worth your time.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Suzan

    Camilla Kimball was an amazing woman who had a very interesting life. She was truly a great woman but I appreciated seeing her human side in this book. She was bright, intelligent, curious, a hard worker, and someone who was deeply dedicated and loved the Lord, her husband, her family, and her church. She was an inspiring role model!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    My grandma loaned me this so I gave it a try. I'm so glad I did. This was the most candid look at the wife of a prophet I have read. She admits faults throughout (often even in a humorous way), she seemed so human and real. My only complaint was that it was not longer. There were still so many things I wanted to know more about. Surprisingly interesting biography. My grandma loaned me this so I gave it a try. I'm so glad I did. This was the most candid look at the wife of a prophet I have read. She admits faults throughout (often even in a humorous way), she seemed so human and real. My only complaint was that it was not longer. There were still so many things I wanted to know more about. Surprisingly interesting biography.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Swhite

    Read this when I was like 10 or 11 and it got me started on biographies. Being inspired by real people with real experiences made me realize how much more there is to a person than just their "cover.". It also helped me see how upbringing and the power to chose obedience can prepare you for some sweet life experiences not otherwise afforded. Read this when I was like 10 or 11 and it got me started on biographies. Being inspired by real people with real experiences made me realize how much more there is to a person than just their "cover.". It also helped me see how upbringing and the power to chose obedience can prepare you for some sweet life experiences not otherwise afforded.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cherre

    This book was a quick read. It was uplifting to see her example of hard work, thrift, faith and zest for life. An 80-year old woman riding a horse... now that's someone who's not afraid to live and enjoy each moment. This book was a quick read. It was uplifting to see her example of hard work, thrift, faith and zest for life. An 80-year old woman riding a horse... now that's someone who's not afraid to live and enjoy each moment.

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