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.
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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