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  1. Young Women's
  2. Youth Conference
  3. Saturday's Warrior
  4. Brigham Young University
  5. Polygamist
  6. Temple Wedding
  7. Orem High
  8. Bordeaux Mission
  9. Exmo Conference


John Hamer's review:

C. L. Hanson's semi-autobiographical novel, Ex-Mormon, is filled with vivid characters and situations -- brought to life through the kind of rich detail that could only be mustered by a keen, inside observer of the Mormon subculture.

The imagery is so real, the reader will almost wonder whether the author was working from detailed notes taken during her own childhood. Not only does the book provide valuable insight on growing up Mormon at the end of the 20th century, each one of the novel's intertwined stories is a page-turner in its own right. All in all, Ex-Mormon is a must-read whether you were raised in the Mormon subculture or not.

Wry Catcher's review:

I bought and read C. L. Hanson's novel Ex-Mormon, which was a very good read, and I gobbled it all up in two days time. Fascinating look at mormon and ex-mormon characters. I'm not writing an in-depth review because I'm not that kind of English major, but I very much enjoyed it, and I recommend reading this one!

Rudi's review:

What I didn't expect was the poignancy of the ending, the self-doubts, the thoughts during the interview and the meal. You have managed to capture the mixture of certainty and self-doubt that most missionaries go through. You've also captured the male psyche/inner thoughts frighteningly well. The last chapters with the lines of poetry were particularly beautiful and touching.

Sabayon's review:

I have spent all of my limited free time in the last week voraciously reading the online portions of your novel Exmormon (I was so disappointed when I discovered the last parts weren't available and I'd have to wait for lulu to ship it). I really have nothing of great insight to add, other than to say I really appreciated it. As an exmormon lesbian feminist expatriate I can scarcely describe how much I identified with it. The scenes from the Youth Conference dance brought back so many awkward and hilarious memories, even though I actually liked the dancing in a circle with the girls and platonic friends part, whether that was to do with how genuinely entertaining my avant garde church friends were (one of the boys even had a beard! imagine, and one of the girls had two sets of earrings and was therefore Satan's handmaiden) or how little I actually cared about the boys except as some abstract status symbol, I'll never know. I also don't think I've ever been more gratified in my decision not to go to BYU (not that I haven't been pretty glad of it for awhile now).

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At lot of Mormon lit is either so positive and upbeat that it seems false, or at least the experience of someone far more popular and faithful than I, or so completely negative that it misses what it was really like growing up in the church. Your book really reminded me of my life, and I impatiently await the arrival of the rest of it.

Aerin's review:

I don't feel the chapters that chanson posted on her blog really do the novel justice. Read together, the different characters and voices give an arc of continuity to issues commonly faced by those coming of age. And especially by those coming of age in mormonism and in leaving Mormonism.

It is a must read for anyone leaving Mormonism. This work compares with other prominent exmormon memoirs and could be thought by some as even more relevant. Especially those of us who grew up and left that church in the 80s and 90s.

In comparison, two well known exmormon memoirs by Deborah Laake and Sonja Johnson are powerful, yet they really describe the experiences of people leaving at different times. I found Exmormon to be much more thought provoking for the very fact that it was written from different perspectives and characters.

Chanson is a keen observer and gifted at bringing those observations to the page. The characters were well developed - I feel I could carry on conversations with any of them.

I particularly liked the many cultural references to growing up mormon - the lyrics to Saturday's Warrior, for example. Or the description of the harried family trying to quickly get ready for church and not waste all the hot water.

Mr FOB's review:

It's exciting to see characters from earlier parts of the book show up again, and to catch up with them as if seeing an old friend after a few years have passed. When a main character from one story becomes a secondary character in another story (and vice versa), the reader has the advantage of seeing significance in little comments and exchanges that the characters themselves don't see. The enjoyment of this omniscient viewpoint becomes a part of the narration itself in the final novella, humorously narrated by Elohim, who watches in amusement as the stories of his less faithful children unfold, and in the process ties up the threads of various storylines for the reader.

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