From Publishers Weekly
The title, epigraphs and style of this fictionalized memoir pay tribute to Jack Kerouac, a surprising muse for a story about a young man's Mormon conversion and two-year stint as a white-shirted Latter-day Saint missionary. At tale's beginning, Kit West, a long-haired, pot-smoking, philosophy-reading 16-year-old from the Colorado mountains, is smitten with Annie Hawk, who has run away from her Mormon parents. An LSD experiment convinces Kit that the Book of Mormon is true, and Annie finds religion. Then the young lovers break up and Kit heads to Colombia, where he knocks on doors, makes converts, conducts baptisms, deals with bullies, misses Annie and suffers the ravages of relentless tapeworms. Newell, for many years a media relations officer for the Latter-Day Saints, never criticizes his church's teachings, and some miraculous episodes strain credulity. Still, memoir readers as well as Mormons looking for a somewhat edgy affirmation of their faith will appreciate the lusty, brawling but tenacious missionaries and the tender love story in this sprawling coming-of-age tale. (Aug.)
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