Liked It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“Being a Mormon myself, and wanting more open dialogue about the difficult questions we face in our faith (in anyone's faith really), I appreciated Joanna's openness in this memoir. The first half of the book described a Mormon culture that seemed exaggerated and strange to me, but if that was...”see full review » see other reviews »
Didn’t Like It
“I was looking for more than this book offered. I was 100 pages into it (of a total of 203 pages) before she even made any reference to why she has dissented from the ranks of Mormonism. She didn't give a lot of understanding into the why of Mormon but just stated facts leaving me still boggled as...”see full review » see other reviews »
“Excellent perspective on those grappling with contemporary issues vs. tenets of our faith in the lds church. ”Tristen wrote this review 3 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A beautiful expression of the emotional realities driving the Mormon experience.”Josh D wrote this review Sunday, August 4, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I am not Mormon. I read this book as research for a writing project, but I was delightfully surprised by this well-written, coming of age memoir. Wonderful and heart-warming!”Christine Carter Schaap wrote this review Wednesday, March 6, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Being a Mormon myself, and wanting more open dialogue about the difficult questions we face in our faith (in anyone's faith really), I appreciated Joanna's openness in this memoir. The first half of the book described a Mormon culture that seemed exaggerated and strange to me, but if that was Joanna's experience then she should write about it. It seems like she feels anger sometimes about the way things are handled in the church (by the organization, or by members), but also doesn't WANT to feel that anger and is continually trying to understand the internal conflict and find truth. The second half of the book is where I felt the raw internal conflict examined in a way that I appreciated a lot. It's interesting! This book does not show you the big picture of Mormonism, but it does give you a glimpse into one person's very important experience that I think should be shared and talked about.”Nicole S wrote this review Saturday, February 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Confession: I picked up this book after seeing the author on The Daily Show. And I don't regret it! This book was warm and insightful and a wonderful story of a personal journey. Brooks doesn't offer any answers, and she doesn't come by her own acceptance of her faith easily--but the story is inspiring nonetheless. She illustrates beautifully the wonderful qualities that Mormons share as well as the less-wonderful qualities that she tries to come to terms with. I would actually have loved to read more about how she is raising her children in an interfaith household, and maybe there was a little bit TOO much crying and angst, but who am I to judge one person's spiritual journey? This book inspires me to seek my own answers to my own questions, and to live by the rules and values which I set for myself, and I love that”Mary Moser wrote this review Friday, November 2, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I was looking for more than this book offered. I was 100 pages into it (of a total of 203 pages) before she even made any reference to why she has dissented from the ranks of Mormonism. She didn't give a lot of understanding into the why of Mormon but just stated facts leaving me still boggled as to the reasoning behind some of the restrictions, preferences, etc. I just felt it was juvenile writing.”Karen C wrote this review Thursday, October 11, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I laughed and cried, and loved some parts of this book and grieved over others. Her prose is beautiful, and love that it is her pioneer ancestry that keeps her coming back. It was five stars until I hit a certain spot.....and then I lost a lot of respect for her!”Heather B wrote this review Wednesday, September 26, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“In full disclosure, I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or more commonly known as the Mormon church.
I honestly don’t know how to review The Book of Mormon Girl. I hoped I’d like it more than I did. I had heard so many good things about it from friends and other readers. But, in the end, there are three things that prevented me from liking it.
First, I didn’t like Joanna Brooks’s writing style. It was confusing to me. I take things at face value and I don’t see humor or sarcasm in writing very well. At times, I wondered if Brooks was being sarcastic or accusatory. I also wondered if she wanted me to laugh with her at some of the peculiarities of our religion or if she wanted to enrage me because of some of the injustices she felt personally.
Second, I felt like she had a political agenda she wanted to get across. I take no issue with other Mormons having different beliefs, feelings, or values than I do. I’m not one to think that just because we belong to the same religion, we all have to think and feel the same way. There are things that I do that my family and friends don’t agree with just as there are things my family and friends do that I don’t agree with or subscribe to. (I hope that sentence made sense.) But, with all this said and done, I didn’t want to read about Brooks’ political agenda. Whether I agree or disagree with her political agenda isn't the point. The point is that I rarely want to read anyone’s political agenda because I feel most people cannot talk about politics without belittling others for feeling differently than they do.
Third, and most importantly, in Brooks’s effort to portray that not all Mormons believe, feel, or think the same way, I felt like she ended up doing just the opposite of her intent. The first half of the book is about how she grew up, but she made it seem as though all Mormons grew up that way. I didn’t. I was allowed to drink Coke and Dr. Pepper. My family didn’t can often; in fact, I only remember canning once in my entire childhood. When I was a child, I was allowed to wear shorter shorts, some sleeveless shirts, and a modest two-piece swimsuit. And, my family definitely didn’t have this weird fixation with Marie Osmond.
In the same vein, when Brooks finally started to talk about her issues with orthodox Mormonism and why she struggled to belong for so many years, I felt as if she were saying that all orthodox Mormons were close-minded and sheep-like, which I disagree with. I’d consider myself an orthodox Mormon, but I also consider myself open-minded and willing to look at things placed before me rather than just blindly following everything I’m told. I’m very much a spirit-of-the-law vs. a letter-of-the-law follower. I don’t belong to either extreme in the Mormon spectrum–-extremely conservative and unwilling to look at any other way of thought, or extremely liberal and finding all conservatives close-minded and sheep-like. Like Brooks, I don’t believe Mormons should blindly follow their leaders. I believe one should question what is put in front of them and gain a personal understanding of it. And, unlike Brooks, I don’t believe that by following our leaders’ examples and counsel after personally examining what has been said or taught makes me close-minded or sheep-like. I believe that some things have to be taken on faith and faith alone.
I did take away a few positives from Joanna Brooks’s story. First, her words helped strengthen my own volition and beliefs. Second, like her, I believe that we must stand up for what we believe even if others don’t agree with us. I believe no one should be made to feel like they don’t belong, especially if they have differing views or beliefs even within the same religion, especially within the same religion. I believe it’s not our place to judge how others should live their lives or the choices they make. I believe we must “tell our whole story," leaving nothing out, even when it’s uncomfortable. I believe we should be proud of our heritage, the good and the bad, because it makes up who we are. And, I believe it’s important to explore our religion as well as others, whether it be Mormonism, Catholicism, Judaism, or atheism, because it helps us find out what we truly believe and where we stand, which allows us to better stand and face opposing opinions, even when they’re from family and friends.”
“This book isn't going to have mass appeal, but I read it after listening to Joanna Brooks interviewed on NPR radio about her memoir. I could relate in many ways to this liberal, feminist Latter-Day Saint who has struggled with finding a place within the LDS church when those around you are 99% conservative in their social and political beliefs. I have had work to separate the true gospel from the members of the church and take some pretty deep breaths when listening to the occasional lesson where tradition or personal views are being espoused rather than doctrine. I don't find myself in the same boat, however, with Ms. Brooks regarding women within the church. I feel equal to and respected by the men in the church and I have no desire to directly hold the priesthood. Frankly, I don't think the sisters need the priesthood for themselves, I think we are doing A-OK by ourselves. I found chapters 4,5, and 6 to be a waste of time for me and all the stuff about Marie Osmond was silly to me, but maybe that's because I am a convert (joined at age 21) and by the time Marie came along I wasn't looking to anyone for advice on health and beauty. But, all in all, I thought the book was insightful and I applaud the author for not "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" where the LDS church is concerned. Sure I still have issues I am working through when it comes to some political or social ideals, and sure I see plenty of cultural traditions which I don't believe to be doctrinal or valid, yet I have a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and the gospel of Jesus Christ. By the way, I don't usually get personal when leaving a book review, but in the case of a book like this it's hard not to do. I give this book a 3.0”Maryquilter wrote this review Friday, August 31, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book is an interesting window into a famous but still very unknown religion: Mormonism. Brooks, a national voice on Mormon life and politics who is an award-winning scholar of religion and American culture, talks with a refreshing openness about what it was like to grow up Mormon. Her religion and the community that came with it was a source of great joy to her, then and now. But she hit a major stumbling block when she became a young woman and embraced many feminist beliefs, which she did not find contrary to her religion, but the leaders of the church did. She witnessed first hand the massive dismissal of many Brigham Young female professors, and the excommunication of scores of women from the church during a very troubled decade, causing rifts that still exist today. Brooks was not excommunicated, but she is no longer allowed to participate in communion at her church, and is only allowed into certain activities run by the church now that she has married a Jewish man in addition to believing in women's rights. But she powers on, trying to bolster the positives while struggling in whatever way she can to change the negatives. This book is eye opening in several ways, and brings a welcome, balanced and timely perspective on a religion that is suddenly in the news more and more often. ”Jackie Blem wrote this review Friday, August 31, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No