Wednesday, October 20, 2010

No Going Back (e-book) by Jonathan Langford

Teenagers found out all the time that someone they liked didn't like them back.  The fact that he and Paul were both boys didn't really have anything to do with it.  Yay for equal-opportunity disappointment.  Somehow it didn't make him feel any better.  p.145 e-book
As a whole, I enjoyed this book.  It was an interesting story and one I have never read before.  I really don't know much about the Mormon church so I was hoping to learn a little about it.  I think I did.  I definitely learned how they feel about homosexuality.  Apparently it is ok to be "same sex attracted" as long as you never act on those feelings.  Interesting.  The main character, Paul, figures out he is gay in the eight grade and finally tells his best friend, Chad, in the ninth grade.  The book picks up from there and explores every single reaction that someone could possibly have to finding out about Paul.  It was interesting to see how the church and the bishop handled it.  He and Paul's mother were the most understanding of the adult characters and Chad was the best teenager character aside from Paul.  I liked how Paul struggled with the idea of his homosexuality as well as the idea of living up to his church's standards.  I am, of course, much more liberal in my views but I also understand that my views are mine alone and I shouldn't force them onto anyone else like quite a few characters try to do to Paul.

As for the writing, I found that some of the dialogue and thoughts felt stilted, like someone writing them on a page rather than actually being thought.  And the handling of the passage of time was awkward.  And the subplot with Chad's mother was wholly unnecessary and bogged the book down in places.  Without it this would have been a much better place.  I would be interested in that storyline in another book about the adults, but it felt out of place here.  But even given all of that, I still enjoyed this book.  The characters and storyline was interesting enough to overcome it and I found myself impatient to find out what happens next.  I became invested in Paul's situation and I wanted him to come out fine in the end.  The resolution was satisfying

Sent by the author for review
Another review on Confessions of a Book Habitué

Hogwarts: Charms


  1. Yes, it's true that the Mormon church says that having those feelings is not a sin, just acting on them. They go so far as to say having those feelings is a burden you've been given to fight, a burden you chose in the pre-existance, something that you need to overcome and fight off on your journey to heaven. That's probably one reason there are so many mixed-orientation marriages in the Mormon church, which is something I find really, really sad. A couple years ago, I fell into a whole nest of blogs by anonymous gay married Mormon men, men who were in their 30s or 40s or 50s and just coming to terms with the fact that they were gay despite being married with children for X years. It's very sad.

  2. And I think that is the life that the main character is going to choose to live which is sad, but it's his choice. It's a very complex issue.

  3. Reading the comment of Amanda and your review this story sounds intense. I have not read lots about those churches and communities, so this story sounds like a informative one. Also it sounds very sad!

  4. Andrea,

    Thanks for your review! I'm glad that you mostly liked the book.

    A question for you: Did you find the Mormon cultural and religious elements confusing for you as a reader without much knowledge of Mormonism? I've had some (Mormon or ex-Mormon) readers who thought that it would be hard to follow the story without a knowledge of Mormon culture. As someone who is Mormon myself, I'm not a good judge of that... What was your experience?

  5. @Nina - Yes, I would say so. It was sad but informative and maybe a little hopeful

  6. @Jonathan
    There were a couple of things that I had to look up, like getting your testimony. I didn't know what that meant and there was no explanation or context to tell me the answer, but other than that most of the stuff was explained or inferred. I didn't know about all the presidents and priesthood elements but I understood it mostly.


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