Customer Reviews: A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories
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on June 18, 2012
The title of this book, A Little Book of Mormon, immediately caught my attention. It's not too often that you find Kindle books about what it was like to grow up in the LDS church.

I have a few close friends who are Mormon and a few friends who are formerly Mormon, so it was interesting to me to find a book that talked about what life was like for a girl growing up with a very strict LDS mother.

This book tells the story of Ingrid, a girl who is Mormon but doesn't really understand why. The entire book is one story after another of life as a Mormon girl. The author's writing is clear, concise, and vivid. I've mentioned before that I don't often review memoirs because I find them less interesting than "real life," but this book was worth the read.

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be Mormon without having a perfect family or without really understanding what your church believes, or without feeling like it's a belief you want to have, too, this book breaks it down. Too often, religious parents push a belief system on their children without explaining why. For example, in this book, Ingrid's mother won't let her stay out past midnight because "midnight is when the devil comes out." Now, is this a biblical idea? Not really. It would have been simpler to say, in the words of a favorite How I Met Your Mother Episode, "Nothing good ever happens after 2 am."

This book has a few highlights, but it's not an incredibly cheery story. Instead, read it to learn about what the LDS church teaches, a little about church history, and a lot about being a girl growing up in America.

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on April 27, 2012
The only fault with this collection of stories is that it was too short. Ricks puts me in mind of Augusten Burroughs (one of my favorites) with how she takes childhood memories (many quite painful) and converts them to stories of humor and hope. So many of us have had dysfunctional families and have used those situations as an excuse for our dysfunction as adults. Ricks doesn't do that and you can see that she is using her life experiences to make herself a stronger, better person. This book was also entertaining because my husband grew up in the Mormon faith, and he has relayed some very similar stories to me. I would recommend for a person that has never read anything by Ricks to start with this collection and then go on to read "Hippie Boy". She touches on the content of "Hippie Boy" in a few of these short stories, so if you read this collection first, it will give you a hint of what you'll read in "Hippie Boy" but won't ruin it for you.
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I won this book from librarything member giveaways in exchange for an honest review.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this little book. I had actually been interested in her other book "Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story," but did not realize until the end of this book that this was the same author. This collection of stories are autobiographical; she writes about snippets of her colorful life growing up with a strict Mormon family and all the difficulties she faced with having a mother from a different culture, a father who isn't as perfect as she hoped, and a stepfather who is mentioned, but is abusive (and I believe dominates her other book).

I was drawn in and captivated by this unusual life. The most important aspect in an autobiography is how real, true, and honest it is. Ingrid Hicks doesn't hold anything back. Everything painful and nightmarish in her past is stark and there for everyone to see on the written page. I was also moved by how she has grown from her experiences and has come to terms with the most awful of circumstances. I also felt personally moved as I have experienced (though not as dramatically) some of what she has experienced.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and everyone, Mormon or not, should read it. The book has a lot of warmth and truth, and we could all learn a little from her hard won wisdom.
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on June 11, 2012
Enjoyed reading about Ingrid Ricks' life growing up Mormon, and glad she found her own agnostic voice as an adult. I liked how she brought to life the struggles of her mother's mom as a young woman being terrorized, and abused during the Nazi occupation. Book was well written...Looking forward to more stories from Ms. Ricks!
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on April 29, 2012
I'm not sure what I love more: Ingrid Ricks the writer, or Ingrid Ricks the human heroine. What I do know for certain is that she is a formidable writer who has lived an amazing life and told a series of marvelous stories that we are richer for having read. Following her stunning debut novel, Hippie Boy, Ricks has now turned out this equally fast-paced, delightful set of essays giving us further insight into her, at times, troubled upbringing in the Church of Latter Day Saints. Ricks' life is rich with characters who are alternately devious, down on their luck, plucky (her to be specific), well-meaning, misguided, generous, crazy, and larger than life. A variety of tales flesh out her life in a poor Mormon family in Utah. Desperation and dreams are part of the same spectrum and as with Hippie Boy, Ricks perseveres and finds redemption. More importantly, she finds love with the mother whose life so deeply impacted her own. This collection is extremely well written and perfectly formatted. Take it for a spin and ponder the possibilities: what would you have done in her shoes? And would any of us have been so adept at telling the tales all these years later? Poignant, light-hearted and extremely well crafted, I highly recommend this little book.
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on April 30, 2012
Overall, I liked "A Little Book Of Mormon (And Not So Mormon) Stories" by Ingrid Ricks, which was a collection of tales about her family life and experiences growing up. Although the author's life was heavily framed by Mormonism (hence the title of the book!), I still could relate to her struggles growing up with extremely strict parents and her longing for freedom. My favorite part of the book was when she told the audience about her "Grandma From France." It sounded like this lady deserves a novel on her own. I suppose I didn't rate this work with 5 stars because I wanted more from the author in terms of descriptive language, character backstory and personal introspection. In other words, what I really wanted was a longer book with more details! I read that the author wrote a memoir, "Hippie Boy," and in some ways I wish I had read that book before I read these stories to gain some context and setting that was missing from "Mormon Stories." Ms. Ricks, please expand on this book--I'm interested in knowing more!
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on September 24, 2012
Anything Ingrid Ricks writes is a delight to read. She tells her stories of growing up in, and growing away from, a strict Mormon household with a compelling narrative flow and clearly defined characters. "A Little Book of Mormon (And Not So Mormon) Stories" is a short collection of essays that includes tales that probably didn't fit her wonderful memoir "Hippie Boy," but also includes stories from her adulthood that serve as a postscript to it. I grimaced at the chapter on her brief, unsuccessful stint as an East Coast nanny; I smiled at her explanation of how she grew closer to her mother despite vast political and religious difference; and I was moved by her chapter, "Grandma From France," a lesson in why we should not be quick to judge others. The book is well worth your time.
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on January 18, 2013
I wish this story was longer. The author's stories about growing up in the Mormon faith were entertaining and insightful. It was a nice look into a denomination I didn't know much about. The author is very talented and I hope that she publishes more books!
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on May 6, 2012
A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories is a sincere delight for Mormons, non-Mormons, or anyone who has ever had parents.

Ingrid Ricks has a rare talent as a writer. She is able to tell both sides of the story, even if the story is her own. She is able to capture what it felt like to be a child, a teen and a young adult whose loyalties are stretched and pulled between a vagabond travelling salesman dad, an immigrant Mormon convert/religious zealot mom, and an overbearing (an unbearable) stepfather, while still having the maturity not to let her stories be one-sided.

Yes, she was sometimes wounded by her mother's extreme views on religion and yes, she grew up to have very different views on the matter, but her mother is not the villain of the stories. She is also the woman who stands up for underdogs and always has a cellar full of canned goods "just in case." And yes, her father could be irresponsible and unreliable, but he was also the source of character-shaping memories and the voice of freedom in an otherwise responsibility-laden life. In short, she remembers what it felt like to hate her parents but she also never forgets that she loves them. Except for her temporary stepdad. She hated that guy.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher/author through the LibraryThing. Members Giveaway program. I was asked to post an honest review (though not necessarily a favourable one). The opinions expressed are strictly my own.

For more reviews, please visit my blog, CozyLittleBookJournal!
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on June 24, 2012
I loved Ingrid Ricks' book "Hippie Boy: A Girl's Story", a true account of her troubled life at home, and freer life on the road with her traveling salesman father. The book was captivating, exciting, sad, and ultimately incredibly inspiring.

So I was thrilled when I found out Ricks had published another work: "A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories", a collection of essays about her life growing up. Struggles with poverty, divorced parents, and a loathsome stepfather, as well as her life on the road is such rich material to draw from, that I figured "A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories" would be a continuation of "Hippie Boy". But that's not the case; in this book, Ricks focuses more on her relationship with her mother, a devout convert to Mormonism, and to the contrasts in her childhood and teenage years, from a nerve-wrackingly low-budget roadtrip that takes her family to Philadelphia, where she meets aunts, uncles, and cousins who live a life very different from hers, to finally being allowed to break curfew, with disappointing results.

"A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories" also gives us a glimpse into the daily existence of extreme Mormons, who get the family up early every day for religious readings and discussion, find the consumption of coffee evil, and even have their own pilgrimage routes across America, traveling to towns most of us have never heard of, in search of traces of their religion's origins. But as the book's title also suggests, Ricks is writing about a lot more than this. These are stories of coming of age, of seeing your family and the world around you in a different light. In addition to learning more about Ingrid's relationship with her parents, we follow her on that aforementioned roadtrip, watch what happens when her family takes in a Native American girl, and learn a hard lesson when she takes a dubious summer nanny job for a wealthy family in Rhode Island.

What I most admire about Ingrid Ricks is that she's lived through circumstances that could have completely broken her: poverty; divorce; a religion that told her that by the age of eight she'd have to fast once a month and that any sins she committed would be counted by God; a truly wicked stepfather - but she remains hopeful, full of dreams and joy. Though Ricks is no longer Mormon, she doesn't look upon the religion with blind anger or criticism - instead, she often weighs the good and the bad. She doesn't turn her back on her mother, but comes to see her differently, and even finds peace and a healthy relationship with her. She goes from loathing her estranged grandmother, to trying to unravel and understand her story.

The second-to-last story in the book is one of reconciliation. The book's last story is "Dream Fever," a rally cry to follow your dreams and to never give up. What Ricks writes shows she isn't merely echoing positive clichés: she's seen firsthand what determination can do.

Whether you're looking for an insight into Mormon culture, a fascinating true story about family and growing up (in all senses of the word), or something to give you hope, "A Little Book of Mormon (and Not So Mormon) Stories" is a must-read.
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