The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir
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The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  4,448 ratings  ·  1,080 reviews
"A wickedly funny debut. Baker is both self-absorbed and generous, whip-smart and naïve; she apologizes for none of it."

It's lonely being a Mormon in New York City. Every year, Elna Baker attends the New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance. This year, her Queen Bee costume (which involves a funnel stinger stuck to her butt) isn't attracting the attention...more
Paperback, 276 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by Plume (first published September 28th 2009)
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Baker likes to sit in the in-between, neither committing herself to one side or the other. I find myself feeling the same way about her book, with things I both like and dislike about the book and her. And so she gets a non-committal three stars from me.

I'm a very trusting person and I always expect that other people are telling me the truth. But I think Elna Baker lied to me. A lot. You would think that the confession that she was a pathological liar would be the thing to clue me in, but it was...more
Petra SockieX
Apr 19, 2014 Petra SockieX marked it as books-to-order-and-read  ·  review of another edition

I saw this book on a distributor's site. It looked interesting so I decided to read the reviews on GR. All the po-faced Mormon ones (view spoiler) who can't recommend the book because it has S-E-X and cursing in it, and the ones that say it misrepresents Mormons and the very long and detailed 1-star review from someone who says they personally know the auth...more
[Name Redacted By Goodreads Because Irrelevant to Review]
"Garcin, come and lend a hand. Quickly. We'll push her out and slam the door on her. That'll teach her a lesson... Don't listen to her. Press your lips to my mouth. Oh, I'm yours, yours, yours."
--Estelle Rigault, No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre


I knew Ms. Baker for several years back in NY. She was in my circle of acquaintances and I went to a few of her stand-up shows. As a result, my reading of this book is informed by personal encounters with and observations of Ms. Baker, and is...more
Due to language, some sexual content, and irreverent humor, I wouldn't recommend this book to many of my LDS friends. Those who are able to read this book with an open mind and without total offense know who they are.

My feelings and thoughts about this book are very mixed.

I love Elna's free spirit. I hate Elna's continual need to lie. I liked Elna's spontaneity. I detested her selfishness. I relate fully to some of her doubts and questions and insecurities. I find her approach to dealing with ab...more

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance is a fantastic example of why I love memoirs! It has everything you would want in an entertaining memoir, things such as hilarious work stories (my favorite part of the book Babies Buying Babies), to relationship problems, to questioning one's faith, to major weight lose. Elna Baker covers a lot of ground for someone so young.

Elna is a Mormon and it was really interesting to learn more about Mormons and also how it played a part in Elna's life...more
A few years ago, I was listening to a podcast of The Moth while running one morning. Many of the storytellers at The Moth sound like they've been around the block a few times, but this girl sounded so sweet and squeaky-clean. It was a huge change of pace to hear her after stories of alcoholic parties and attempted murders (more typical topics for The Moth). As I listened to the girl talk about how her parents married young and had five kids, I said to myself, "Wow, this girl has GOT to be Mormon...more
I've waited for over three months to write this review so that I can be a bit more objective about it. After all, it's not like I know Elna Baker, author and comedienne living in New York City. So, why would her memoir about balancing her doubts with her faith within her sparsely-populated Mormon world have me feeling all kinds of righteous indignation? I can only compare it to the feelings that arise when listening to someone else complain about your own family. Oh, no you didn't! Only I get to...more
This is a book by a single Mormon girl who is exactly my age and she's writing about what her life is like. Theoretically, I should be able to kind of relate to this girl. But the thing is, she and I have faced a lot of the same decisions and I've tended to chose the opposite of what she has. I disagree with her about a lot of things. And she's not advocating the choices she's made. She's just telling her story and she's telling it honestly. But still, I felt maybe a little judged. This is a gir...more
Lisa Nelson
So, I've been carrying Elna around for the last couple of days. We've been making it okay because she lost 80 pounds in the book (way to go!) and I've been doing a crossfit work out for the passed couple of months so I'm getting much stronger. I just can't get this girl and her story out of my head. I don't think I've ever had such a difficult time in rating a book as well. I would go from 2-5 stars the entire time I was reading and I am still uncertain about how I feel about her memoir overall....more
I'm not sure whether I want to refer to the author as Elna or Sister Baker. On the one hand, referring to her as Elna creates a feeling of familiarity and informality, which in some respects I don't want because we should not be too informal in our treatment of the ideas embodied in this book. On the other hand, if I refer to the author as Sister Baker I could unintentionally create the feeling that the author's actions in the book are representative of young people in the Church, and my own exp...more
Okay, I'm going to break down and actually review this book. There were some great parts in it. Elna has a fun style of writing and sounds like a really fun-loving person. What bothers me most is the idea of someone who is not LDS reading this book and assuming that most of Elna's lifestyle conforms to LDS teachings - that she's simply having a bit of an internal conflict, but is a good, practicing LDS. However, it is painfully obvious to those who are LDS that despite the implication of her try...more
I think it's great that a book by a Mormon about being Mormon has been released by a mainstream publisher. Elna Baker is a 20-something single woman living in New York City and trying to figure out who she is and what she believes. Baker is a stand-up comedienne, and her stories are hilarious even while they're thought-provoking or uncomfortably familiar.

Not that I have many experiences in common with her, because even though I'm a 30-something single woman in DC, I am boring and unadventurous....more
Doug Bradshaw
I want to bear my testimony as to the truthfulness of this book!! My wife and I read it out loud on a recent trip from SLC to San Diego. We laughed out loud, we cringed, we shed a couple of tears and had a great journey into Elna's life. We found it refreshing and honest that she was able to talk candidly about sexual things and the pressures of today's normal world. We loved her introspectiveness and her wondering and questioning about the religion. I think there is too little open talking abou...more
Oct 14, 2012 rivka rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to rivka by: Wm
3.5 stars

While I have to admire the honesty of this memoir, the degree of self-sabotage and narcissism (much of it seemingly never picked up on even years afterwards by the author) was dismaying. One early example: The "saying yes" bit in the very first chapter. She admits, "Technically this could be perceived as lying". Um, that would be because it IS. And in the most impressive how-I-got-lots-of-free-stuff-by-kinda-sorta-lying, she had to keep lying to keep up the charade. But that's ok, becau...more
Elna Baker is not your stereotypical, sweet spirit, Molly Mormon. The first hint of that is the dedication page to her mom and dad where she excludes the "nine F-words, thirteen Sh-words, four A-holes, page 257, and the entire Warren Beatty chapter" from the parental dedication. I'm sure she was very aware that there were many Mormons who would not appreciate the foul language, several of her occasionally risque exploits, or the mocking of certain cultural aspects of Mormonism. But I get the sen...more
Angie Never
(Note: I accidentally left this book in the window at Donatos and it lived there for a week.)

Things I liked about this book:
1. Lists
2. The Nubbins story, which I had previously heard on This American Life.

Things I didn't like about this book:
1. Narrator loses weight via a combination of amphetamines and starvation and then repeatedly refers to it as "a miracle from God."
2. Includes the least sexy scene of all time, during which the narrator breathily whispers something like "you need to pray abo...more
What's a thirtysomething married Mormon man reading this book for? I really don't know, but the title and newspaper review made me curious to pick it up. And I actually really enjoyed it for awhile - she has an entertaining way of spinning a yarn and a raw honesty in revealing her inconsistencies and embarrassments you won't find in most Mormon writers (the church PR department definitely wouldn't endorse this, which makes it refreshing).

I appreciated her honesty until the condescending remarks...more
I picked up this book because I saw it reviewed in People magazine (it got 4 stars) and I thought I might be able to relate, as I was single and LDS in New York for 3 years. I also then remembered that I had seen the author doing stand-up at a singles talent show in 2006 and I thought it might be interesting. But I really struggled with this book. On the one hand, I appreciate that someone else out there has gone through similar experiences and is willing to talk about them, from a humorous stan...more
It's hard to review this book without biasing a future reader. The book is about a mormon college student in NYC, and her adventures, struggles and experiences after college as a single mormon woman in the big city.

Her voice is inconsistent and the book needs more editing for flow (and typos!) in order to be well-written. But it was interesting, and at times really funny and also relatable. During the time I was reading the book, I enjoyed it. If you are going to read the book, stop reading the...more
I actually liked this book - it even made me laugh quite a few times - I just really don't know who I would recommend it to. I think a lot of mormons would not care for it because they wouldn't like some of the situations Elna gets herself into. Or they wouldn't understand her continuous doubting even after so many spiritual experiences. I personally was surprised that someone would publish such personal spiritual experiences, especially when publishing for the world -- not just a small religiou...more
The voice throughout her book is phenomenal, but the way she represents the LDS Faith is frustrating to me. She's extremely sheltered for having lived around the world (didn't know porn was on the internet? ummmmm...)She is insecure and hard for me to relate to as all she wants is to be skinny and have a boyfriend. I wouldn't suggest reading it because it will probably just make you frustrated that she both doesn't like herself and that she can't just choose what she believes (the end leaves you...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This story is a years-long crisis of faith disguised as a ditzy dating chronicle. I can't rate it any higher because the author spends far too much time obsessing about looks and kissing(huge eye-roll here). I can't rate it any lower because it is quite well written and edited, easy to read, at times hilarious, and has moments of great honesty and clarity.

Elna Baker is a New York City stand-up comic, and also a practicing (sort of) Mormon. She is an exuberant, open, adventuresome young lady. Goo...more
I thought this book was awful.

I saw mention of it on Facebook when a friend was asking for book suggestions. The title seemed kind of fun, I was curious to see what a member of my faith had to say about actively living her religion as a single in New York, so when I saw my library had a copy, I checked it out.

I should have stopped after the first chapter. I already got the gist of where the memoir was headed. But, because like the author, I am also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latte...more
Alena Reid
This book is not for those without unconventional thinking. It is borderline offensive to me as a member of the LDS faith, but I appreciate the author's candid story-telling. And I was able to empathize with some of her viewpoints. I think she could have used more tact, but that is obviously not her style. The thing that bothered me the most about the author is that she never took a stand one way or another. She claimed in one sentence to want to follow her religion, but in the next she openly m...more
A great friend gave me this book to read. The first half I was laughing out loud and thought that this would be a 5 star book, for sure. It's a single mormon woman's memoir about living in New York City. She loses 80 pounds and her life changes dramatically. Throughout the book, she keeps asking and receiving answers to strengthen her testimony. And she is truly hilarious! BUT...the second half seemed to go downhill. At the end, I was left with a feeling that she just became desperate instead of...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Okay, I liked this book and then I didn't like the book, and then I liked it and then I didn't. There were parts that I really related to and parts that were too inconsistent. Like she went to the Temple to pray and receive revelation yet she's never been through the Temple. Then she made a big deal about the "linger later" that was always held the first Sunday of the month right after church. For all us Mormons we know that we don't eat right after church on the first Sunday of the month . . ....more
Jennie Dopp
Okay... so this one was a mixed bag for me, but I still gave it four stars.

I thought there were parts that were hilarious and other parts made me wonder if she was stretching the truth a bit. I also didn't feel the author was being honest about her quest for a testimony of the gospel. I know living in NYC could probably make you jaded, but I wondered at times about her committment level to the church even though she clamied at one point she had a break through moment. In practically the next ch...more
When I saw Baker's book being reviewed in a national magazine, I was shocked. Mormon writers and their Mormon subject matter are not usually candidates for mainstream American readers. I went home and ordered the book immediately. The title alone would be worth the cost....
There is a reason Deseret Book (the main Mormon publishing house) did not pick this manuscript up. It is not a morality tale. It is not a polite recitation of singles' ward activities and getting lost on the subway in New York...more
As a practicing Mormon I find this book very humorous and also irritating. Baker's descriptions of desperate LDS women, pressured by their married friends and leaders and competing to find their "eternal companions," is funny...and also a little sad because it is a true portrait for so many. I also recognized many of the scenarios Baker finds herself in, while being LDS outside of Utah. It can be a whole new world once you step across that state-line.

However, I found her eternal quest of decidin...more
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