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The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith Paperback – August 7, 2012
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"This gorgeously written, deeply intelligent memoir of an ordinary girlhood in an ordinary Mormon family is one of those most unusual and most valuable of personal stories, simultaneously sweeping and intimate, a book of both broad vision and precise detail. The Book of Mormon Girl is about one particular religious subculture, but it will resonate with anyone who cares about childhood and its echoes in the adult mind of a scholar who’s also a wise and innovative storyteller." --Jeff Sharlet, New York Times bestselling author of The Family and Sweet Heaven When I Die
“Laugh-out-loud funny and break-your-heart poignant. A triumph.”–Carol Lynn Pearson, author of No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones
"Joanna Brooks captures Mormonism in revealing but tender ways that are sure to resonate with insiders and outsiders alike. Mormonism may not yet have found its Chaim Potok, but it has its Joanna Brooks."--R. B. Scott, author of Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics
“A pathbreaking and utterly necessary memoir.”–Carolyn Forché, celebrated poet and human rights activist
“A compelling memoir of being found and lost and found again. Brooks is a contemporary Mormon pioneer.”–Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood and Mormonism for Dummies
“Disarming, funny, wrenching, and inspiring. This is a quietly fierce, authentic, and faithful voice, one that insists her religious tradition is young, and the next chapter yet to be written.”–Phillip Barlow, Ph.D., Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, Utah State University
"Enchanting...charming...throughout this heartfelt work [Joanna Brooks] remains braced and true to herself." --Publisher's Weekly
"The Book of Mormon Girl is a luminous ode to Brooks' passion for Mormonism, in spite of her church's rejection. It is a memoir written not just for herself, but for others who continue to pursue their faith in the face of abandonment because "No one should be left to feel like she is the only one broken and seeking." --Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A balanced, heartfelt memoir of honoring a faith and a heritage while challenging church teachings." --Shelf Awareness
"Brooks writes with an urgent intimacy reminiscent of Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” coating even the most painful memories with a honeyed warmth." --The Boston Globe
"Brooks’s sprightly yet thoughtful prose, her carefully constructed narrative and her passionate yet forgiving activism make hers a rare memoir that ended too soon. It is a triumphal declaration of unorthodox faith and an engaging — if unconventional — introduction to an American religion." --The Washington Post
"A thought-provoking, conversation-starting memoir for those interested in Mormonism, feminism, and religion in general." --Library Journal
"Joanna writes a beautifully crafted memoir about growing up as a Mormon, how her life as a young kid felt and how it changed over time when she went to college and became a self-proclaimed feminist (not something closely associated with the Mormon Church at the time). The book is a terrific read, especially if you've ever gone through a period in your life where you've questioned your faith and background. You must read it!" --Huffington Post
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Top Customer Reviews
Joanna's depiction of the Mormon culture when and where we were raised is spot on. The emphasis on heritage, good works, family, emergency preparedness, the feeling that the Second Coming was imminent ... I heard all the same stories and sang all the same songs. I share her love for the people and the culture that we were raised in.
However, being a Mormon is not only about being part of a culture, it is being part of a religion that has specific beliefs. Thus, while the book accurately conveys the superficial details of the Mormon culture of Southern California, it is completely off where it comes to the Mormon perspective. Can one be a Jew by loving the Jewish culture while denying Moses' claim to revelation? Can one be Islamic by loving the Islamic culture while denying Mohammad's prophetic calling? While religious beliefs may give rise to certain cultural characteristics, the religion is the beliefs, not the culture.Read more ›
"I grew up in a world where all the stories I heard arrive at the same conclusions: the wayfarer restored, the sick healed, the lost keys found, a singular truth confirmed. And an orthodox Mormon story is the only kind of story I ever wanted to tell.
But these are not the kinds of story life has given me."
I bought this book because I was curious. My life story is an echo of Joanna's --- I was raised in a staunch Mormon family, the youngest of seven children. I am a strong-willed liberal feminist girl who stopped believing in the Mormon church when I was sixteen. I bought this book because wanted to understand how the author balances her personal beliefs with the beliefs of her family's faith. I struggle to balance the love I have for my family with their prejudice against people who leave the Mormon church.
Joanna devotes a lot of time to her childhood and the security she felt growing up in such a strong religious tradition. There are hints of the turmoil that would come later, hints of dissonance between her personal convictions and the teachings of the Mormon church. But mostly, she concentrates on the happy memories. There is a saccharine quality to her recounting, a need to present her childhood as being the orthodox Mormon story.
Then she very abruptly shifts to a period of turmoil. There isn't much segue from her recounting of a happy childhood to the disillusionment of adulthood. Her recounting of the excommunications of prominent feminists --- the September Six --- came across as very rote. There was a lot of heartache bundled up into just a few terse pages.Read more ›
Joanna Brooks honestly and forthrightly lays out a thesis for claiming or reclaiming a faith that at times feels as though it has abandoned us. While some may view any criticism or disagreement with the Church as being "anti-Mormon," this book simply isn't. Joanna's love for the faith of her mother and grandmothers pervades every page of this book. Like most relationships, that love can also cause an enormous amount of pain which is also evident. There are passages that are simply heart-wrenching.
Joanna's mastery of prose and imagery make this a wonderfully readable book. At turns poetic, it weaves both experience and imagery together in ways that illustrates a point without belaboring it. Indeed, the book's relatively short length only serves to underscore the power of the message.
What frightens me are Joanna's own words when she writes, "...telling unorthodox versions of our story is sometimes viewed as the work of enemies and apostates." But all of us who claim this faith as our own heritage must stand next to her and speak with one voice her words when she later writes, "I am not the enemy, and I will not be disappeared from the faith of my ancestors."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book at a Friends of the Library sale, paying 25 cents, and this book did not live up to my expectations. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I was disappointed in the book after reading some columns the author had posted on-line. While I grew up Mormon (I am an ex-Mormon), I thought the story line was pretty... Read morePublished 3 months ago by cami c
I loved this book. As a progressive Mormon who worked as a democratic field organizer for a time, this book really captured my experience grappling with my faith and Ideology. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
Despite picking up and putting down this book five times, I really enjoyed this book. I was raised Mormon, though I have long since left the Church for so very many reasons. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
For those like me, who wonder if feminism has gone completely 'underground', "The Book of Mormon Girl" is a welcome reminder that feminism flowers perennially in the form... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Peter Baklava
Never hide what is inside. continue sharing .love it.THE BOOK of NORMAN: LDS fiction -- A MISSIONARY STORYPublished 6 months ago by Author of THE BOOK of NORMAN Paul Riley
Felt like the author spent the part of the book I read whining about her life. Couldn't connect. Didn't finish.Published 7 months ago by Sophia Bryan
I enjoyed learning about Joanna Brooks journey. It is outlines her struggles and decisions in carving out a place for herself in a faith where she differs on important details from... Read morePublished 8 months ago by J. Anderson