Monday, November 2, 2009

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance
By Elna Baker
Dutton, 2009. 276 pgs. Biography

Elna Baker is a Mormon actress/waitress/comedian living in New York City. Her entertaining memoir describers her efforts to live her religion while still chasing her dreams in a city whose moral standards deviate from those she was raised to practice. After losing over 80 pounds, she finds herself attracting the male attention she has always craved and struggles to find a balance between her sexuality and her spirituality.

Baker is an entertaining writer, but as I finished her book, I had a variety of conflicting opinions. At times I laughed out loud and completely sympathized with her observations concerning Mormon culture vs. the ‘real world’. I was especially impressed with the way she expressed her beliefs and spoke of LDS doctrine in a respectful and touching voice. However, her description of the Mormon culture and the members she associates with contains an overwhelming amount of contempt and ridicule. Her desperate need to be loved and admired was another aspect of her narrative that grated a bit on the nerves. Overall, this is an interesting viewpoint from a talented young writer.


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