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The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance: A Memoir Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 15, 2009

129 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Elna Baker's memoirs of Mormon chastity and self-denial are presented with such passion and wit and unbridled effervescence that somehow her life comes out as pure erotic adventure, a romance of wild sunshine hedonism. As she juggles it all before us-her doubt and her deep faith and her lust and longing and fierce discipline-she's a dazzlement, a living breathing paradox and an absolute original and a joy to behold." George Dawes Green, Author of Ravens and The Juror, and Creator of the MOTH.

"Is there a stronger subject than the struggle for love, or a better way to face it than to laugh? Baker has got the curse to live absurdly, the gift to tell it honestly, and the nerve to break our hearts. G*d@#n her talent." -Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Story of a Marriage and The Confessions of Max Tivoli

Review

"Elna Baker's memoirs of Mormon chastity and self-denial are presented with such passion and wit and unbridled effervescence that somehow her life comes out as pure erotic adventure, a romance of wild sunshine hedonism. As she juggles it all before us-her doubt and her deep faith and her lust and longing and fierce discipline-she's a dazzlement, a living breathing paradox and an absolute original and a joy to behold." George Dawes Green, Author of Ravens and The Juror, and Creator of the MOTH.

"Is there a stronger subject than the struggle for love, or a better way to face it than to laugh? Baker has got the curse to live absurdly, the gift to tell it honestly, and the nerve to break our hearts. G*d@#n her talent." -Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Story of a Marriage and The Confessions of Max Tivoli
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525951350
  • ASIN: B003F76C7A
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,256,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 109 people found the following review helpful By David H. Birley VINE VOICE on September 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It is hard to decide where to start this review. I am a Mormon. I joined the Church at age 30, almost 45 years ago. I have lived in the Mormon Singles life then, when I joined, and then after my wife died following 35 years of marriage, I entered the scene again as a seventy-something adult. I know something about the scene Elna Baker paints, and it is so true to life it almost hurts. If you doubt that, take a look at Unfinished Business which tells about a twenty-something new widow entering the singles scene of the Church.

Mormon literature has a tendency to be very self-conscious. In-group terms are carefully avoided either "because non-members wouldn't understand them", or because of a desire not to offend folks not of our faith. Elna not only resists the temptation to fit either of those molds, she writes a memoir that is so candid, so complete, that some of the TBMs (True Blue Mormons) among us might not wish to read the book, or even admit that it exists. Still other TBMs might feel that Sister Baker should be kicked out of the Church. Let me assure you, that is a decision that would only take place between her and her Bishop -- and my guess is that isn't on any nearby horizon.

So, if you are a Mormon, caught by that word appearing in the title of the book, my recommendation? Get it and read it. If you are a TBM, and worried about the Satanic influences of the world corrupting our youth? Get it, read it, and have your eyes opened. If you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Just get it, read it, and learn a vast amount of the real truth about what real Mormons are like, and how they think.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Meg VINE VOICE on August 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After reading the product description, I felt that this book would be a typical chick lit read about a quirky Mormon girl who goes through a bunch of bad dates and finally finds the one. It was absolutely not that! And you know what? That's a very good thing! What this is, is a memoir of a Mormon girl who has grown up in the church, trying to reconcile her relationship with God, and her search for a man. Through the book we see Elna (not Eliza, Elena - Elna!) grow up into a woman of the world who has one foot firmly planted in her Mormon faith. I absolutely adored this book, and now feel like I know Elna (not in a weird stalkerish kind of way) but in a way where I understand what she is going through in her quest. The best part of this book is that it's funny and tongue in cheek, but wise at the same time. Would definitely rate it one of my top books of the year!!
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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mint910 VINE VOICE on September 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance is a fantastic example of why I love memoirs! It has everything you would want in an entertaining memoir, things such as hilarious work stories (my favorite part of the book Babies Buying Babies), to relationship problems, to questioning one's faith, to major weight lose. Elna Baker covers a lot of ground for someone so young.

Elna is a Mormon and it was really interesting to learn more about Mormons and also how it played a part in Elna's life. She's constantly challenging her religion and I thought that was a really honest depiction of religion.

This is probably one of the best memoirs I have read in the last few years, when I saw it and I read the title I knew this author would have a great sense of humor and she definitely did. I was also glad that there were serious parts to her story as well, that she could jump back and forth from something hilarious to something heartbreaking shows just how much talent she has.

I really can't put into words how much I liked this so you are just going to have to trust me. I found Elna pretty likable and very talented and definitely hope she continues writing!
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29 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Laura M. Urynowicz on March 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did not enjoy this book. I found the author to be unapologetically hypocritical and completely blinded to that fact. The multiple descriptions of her kissing conquests reminded me of a book more suited for the Judy Blume sect. I found it surprising that she was completely unaware how hypocritical she was in regards to her faith---of which I have none, but can distinguish when someone uses it to their advantage. For instance, yes she has kept her virginity but at the same time continues to seek out encounters that belie her religion's clearly stated rules again and again and again. Proudly at that!

I did try and give this book the old college try. But after the descriptive chapters of how she is taught via her religion at a very early age to respect the body and do good with it which she translates as taking speed and then getting breast implants I couldn't take it anymore (all on her parent's dime.) I would have laughed had I not been so annoyed that this woman is out there with a smile on her face, a check in her pocket, and a righteous belief that she's contributing to society with this book. This "memoir" is a waste of time. It's all been said--- and by much more talented writers than Ms. Baker.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mary G. Longorio VINE VOICE on September 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Elna Baker dishes the quintessential coming of age (sort of) story of a Mormon girl outside of Utah. Elna Baker had never lived in Utah, a fact that she claims with great pride. With an unerring eye for the qualities of Mormonism that allows its followers the claim of being "peculiar people" and a genuine love for the church Baker describes her years living in New York following high school. Armed with an upbringing that was loving and a bit unconventional, Baker arrives in New York armed with a belief in her upbringing and a pure belief that righteous actions equal reward. Unfortunately, not everyone else is privy to the same beliefs. Add the fact that she is what we Mormons sometimes call a "sweet spirit (a big girl). She finds her search for self and the person that can appreciate and love that self a bit more complicated and pitfall prone than expected. No matter which way she turns, she is bound to upset or worry someone. Her weight loss opens doors, but once she enters she is faced with choices. The discovery that the man she falls in love with is an atheist turns her world on its ear and her attempts to awaken a spiritual connection within him are hilarious and bittersweet. Elna's own attempts to turn away from beliefs long held and cherished have equally mixed results. She has to stand on her own.

I wish there had been an Elna Baker when I left the nest over thirty years ago. The discovery that the world is complex, much more than ever imagined, and that the recital of beliefs does not protect the individual from having to make judgments and choices that were never discussed in Young women's classes was daunting.
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