Rating: Not for Mom, Not for Me
I first heard about this book through a review in People magazine. Surprised that a story about a Mormon girl living in New York could have a broad enough appeal to make it into People, I was curious and borrowed a copy from my lit friend.
Elna Baker moves to New York when she is 18 and overweight. She loses 80 lbs and suddenly is viewed (and views herself) as a sexual being. The story follows her struggle as she has teeters between both worlds of Mormonism and New York Singlism. As I read the book, I realized that I had already heard most of her anecdotes from This American Life and while I can't find video to back me up, I swear she was on "Last Comic Standing" several years ago.
My expectations were kind of high for this book. I was hoping to read something that showed Mormons in a positive light-- a story about how someone could have conservative standards, but still enjoy all life in a big city has to offer. Instead she spends the whole book trying to get away with as much as she can without actually breaking any big commandments-- which I guess is partly what a coming of age book is all about. Instead of experimenting, making mistakes and learning who she is and what she really wants, the book ends with her still immaturely compromising values, not any closer to knowing which world she wants to fully embrace. Overall, this book left me feeling really sorry and embarrassed for her.