I wanted so bad to like this book. I loved Jeanette Winterson's hilarious and poignant memoir, Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? This is basically...moreI wanted so bad to like this book. I loved Jeanette Winterson's hilarious and poignant memoir, Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? This is basically that memoir, put into novel form and not 100% non-fiction.
The main character, also called Jeanette, is adopted as baby into a strict Pentecostal household. Her adoptive mother believes that Jeanette will one day become a missionary and trains as a very young child for her "destiny" as a missionary. As a young adult, Jeanette begins several love affairs with women, thus causing her religious and family trouble. The book is told in a humorous, yet sincere manner.
So the problem for me, was the writing I think. It was very British. I know this sounds really ignorant, but it was hard to understand the language, just with the British English. For example, in one chapter, the word "mac" kept being used. I thought this was macaroni-and-cheese until the author speaks of putting it on. Sure, I could have Googled the British words I didn't know, but really while reading it's not really something I usually feel like doing since it disrupts the flow. There was also a lot of parables that disrupt the flow of the story. In the middle of the story at any given time she'll tell another short almost fairy-tale like story or might just insert what seem like small non-fiction essays. Just reflections on life.
Unfortunately, I'm going to give Oranges Are The Only Fruit 2 out of 5 stars.(less)
The Book of Mormon Girl is a memoir of growing up Mormon, but as an adult having political and cultural disagreements regarding the faith that you wer...moreThe Book of Mormon Girl is a memoir of growing up Mormon, but as an adult having political and cultural disagreements regarding the faith that you were raised in and love deeply. It's about juggling personal feelings about topics such as feminism and gay rights with the conservative doctrine and culture of one's own religion. Really, you don't have to be Mormon to enjoy The Book of Mormon Girl, anyone who has felt like they don't quite fit into their culture or upbringing could relate to Joanna Brook's struggle as a Mormon feminist and gay ally.
This book was of particular interest to me. I'm a Mormon convert and have only been in the church for about a year. Growing up fairly secular, I too sometimes have a hard time agreeing or understanding certain aspects of Mormon culture. I, like Joanna Brooks, am a feminist and supporter of gay rights. I'm not as vocal or entwined in those subcultures, but it is scary to me that people who don't agree wholeheartedly with the church's views of cultural and political topics can be excommunicated. This is something the author is constantly worried about as she dearly loves the Mormon church.
The book kept my interest for the most part. The writing wasn't always super interesting and was mostly her lamenting how hard it is to be a feminist/gay activist and be Mormon and how she doesn't fit in anymore. That's the point of the book, I guess, but at times she did come off as almost whiny and a little too poetic and sentimental. I also couldn't tell who the books intended market was. Was it Mormons or non-members? I'm thinking her target audience are fellow Mormons, as many of the things she talks about in the book in regards to the church aren't explained. Non-members would be highly-confused with so little explanation of Mormon jargon and traditions. Even I, as a member, albeit a convert, found things I had to look up.
The book is relatively short and sweet and with enough time and a good attention-span (which I lack... on both counts) could probably be read in a few hours. I'm a lover of memoirs and I especially love learning about different religions and cultures so I would recommend this book to others who enjoy the same subjects. I am giving The Book of Mormon Girl 3 out of 5 stars.(less)
I've been reading The Lonely Polygamist for what seems like forever and I have finally finished. I guess the problem is that I put it down for several...moreI've been reading The Lonely Polygamist for what seems like forever and I have finally finished. I guess the problem is that I put it down for several months and kept meaning to get back to it. I think the biggest problem is that its sheer amount of characters and side stories is so overwhelming and the book itself is about 600 pages.
The Lonely Polygamist is the story of Golden, or as one of his many sons calls him "Sasquatch", who is a man who joined a fundamentalist offshoot of the Mormon church. Everything about Golden is larger than life and he can't seem to control any of it. From his size (his son calls him Sasquatch for a reason) to his large family with so many kids (I want to say 24 but can't remember) that when one is in an accident he's not actually able to determine at first which one it is, but is positive it is one of his children.
This book was pretty funny, it had a dry sense of humor to it. Even when the most serious, darkest things happen to the family members the writing somehow remains light yet poignant and tinged with humor. The members of this oversized, quirky family find themselves victims to affairs, bombs, death, and one troublemaking ostrich. I enjoyed this book, despite it's volume, and am giving it 4 out of 5 stars.(less)
The Cost of Love and Sanity is the story of a professional career woman who succeeds in every part of her life and has everything she wants... except...moreThe Cost of Love and Sanity is the story of a professional career woman who succeeds in every part of her life and has everything she wants... except for one thing a family. Alex has just never met the right man, not that she's really devoted much time to looking. At 37, Alex is a bit of homebody and prefers to focus on her career as a Recruitment Manager. She drives a Lexus and has a large house all to herself. One day she bumps into a guy she dated a decade ago, but broke up with over trust issues. In a way, she'd really like to rekindle a relationship with him and it seems like he's really changed, but has he?
I enjoyed this book and I liked the character of Alex. I felt like I had a lot in common with her, personality-wise. I found the story enjoyable. It wasn't a terribly exciting story line, but it moved along at a nice pace. The only thing that bothered me was there was no mention of a setting. I assumed the book was set in Florida, because the author is from Jacksonville. Yet, she never mentions what city or state the book is set in. I kept looking for complex and I did find some and I am not sure the book is set in Florida, but again it's never actually mentioned. Alex does mention that if she'd have a baby shower she'd like to hold it in Amelia Island or Sawgrass, both which are towns near Jacksonville. Later, Nathan tells Alex he'd like to take her to a club outside of Orlando. Even if the author made up a fictional Florida town, I just feel like a book isn't complete without mention of a setting. For people who don't live in Florida, they probably aren't familiar enough to figure out what state Alex lives in.
Outside of that, the book was a nice romance about a smart, educated career woman. I appreciated that Alex wasn't a damsel-in-distress like many romance book heroines. I'm giving The Cost of Love and Sanity 4 out of 5 stars. (less)