Jonathan Langford

Teoksen The Latter-day Saint Family Encyclopedia tekijä

3+ teosta 20 jäsentä 4 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Sisältää nimen: Jonathan D. Langford

Tekijän teokset

The Latter-day Saint Family Encyclopedia (2010) — Tekijä — 10 kappaletta
No Going Back (2009) 7 kappaletta, 4 arvostelua

Associated Works

Irreantum - Vol. 14:1 (2012) (2012) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Irreantum - Vol. 13:1 (2011) (2011) — Avustaja — 1 kappale
Sunstone - Issue 153, February 2009 (2009) — Avustaja — 1 kappale

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In this teen novel, we find Paul Flitkin trying to be honest about who he is and what he believes. Having grown up LDS (Mormon), he knew that coming out and trying to deal with his sexual identity was going to be hard enough without adding the conflict he felt from his religion. All he ever really wanted to do was attend BYU and have a family, but it suddenly all seemed to conflict.

I really thought that this novel dealt with a lot of issues that I hadn't seen tackled in a story before. Not only did he have to face the obvious changes that happened in his friendship with his best friend Chad Mortenson (who's dad was also the bishop), but he also had to face the kids in his GSA club who felt that his desire to be LDS conflicted with who he really was. I really felt for Chad, as he was tossed back and forth in the story between his church/beliefs and his same-sex attraction.

There were many layers of conflict built into this story, which I think does a nice job of touching on some of the realities that must surround a teen who wants to admit that they are gay. Honestly, Paul was such a straight-laced character that he almost felt unreal. His strength of character made him a truly sympathetic character, which then highlighted all the different prejudices he and those he loved encountered. Paul had to worry about the reactions of his mother, his best friend (Chad), his bishop, his friends at school, the people at church, and the other kids in the GSA. It was an enlightening inside view of this character's experiences.

I don't want to simplify this book or its hot button issues in any way, but there is so much to consider. One thing that I thought was unique was the reverse tension that came from Paul's new gay friends who were angry at his allegiance to his religion. It's all completely understandable and feels very real in adding to Paul's confusion and isolation. I would think that regardless of religion, that this book highlights what a teen that is coming out in a strong religious community might encounter. There aren't any easy or pat answers given in the book, which is probably for the best, but this story tries to tackle them head on. For starting a dialogue and giving voice to teens also coming out, this book does a really nice job.
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mjmbecky | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 23, 2011 |
A gay teenage Mormon growing up in western Oregon in 2003. His straight best friend. Their parents. A typical LDS ward, a high-school club about tolerance for gays, and a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution. In NO GOING BACK, these elements combine in a coming-of-age story about faithfulness and friendship, temptation and redemption, tough choices and conflicting loyalties. (From Good Reads)

This novel was sent to me by the author to read and review back in October. At the time I had some other books I'd promised to review and then spent November doing NaNo. I have a huge pile of TBR, but my promises come first so I picked this one up and started to read it. Then I put it down. It didn't interest me. There were no faeries, it wasn't a fantasy. It was reality and I wasn't sure I could handle the subject matter right then. My mother is a million miles away in Florida and all of the sudden she was ill and talks of nursing homes and twenty four hour care made me unable to handle realistic fiction. I read some other books I'd promised to read and some I had to review within a week's time of receiving or I wouldn't be likely to get my next choice when the ARC's were being handed out.

But the day after Christmas, I picked it up and I couldn't put it down. I was immediately gripped by the story of Paul a sophomore in high school who knows he is gay, but also knows it goes against everything his religion teaches. He is very much in the closet, having not told anyone he is "same sex attracted" as his religion calls it. What religion? Mormon which I knew nothing about and still know only a very small part of it. But Paul is very proud of his faith and very faithful and wants to stay true to his vows to the church. His best friend is the first one he comes out to. Chad is a stereotypical teen, calls him a faggot and is afraid of this information and his best friend. But the relationship between Paul and Chad transforms from Chad just accepting his best friend as long as they don't talk about it, to a totally different type of relationship. Chad learns to self control and how to be tolerant and even protective of Paul as the bullying starts and then gets worse, at school and at Church.

But Paul's story isn't the only story being told. There is the marriage between Chad's parents Richard, the bishop of the ward and Sandy. Richard has a job and his duties at Church which leaves less and less time for him to spend at home with his family and wife. There is constant tension there and the conflict has to be addressed if the marriage is going to survive. Sandy is jealous of the time he spends on everyone else but her and she doesn't really want to be at home being a mother. She wants a career and she wants to stop having to pretend to be a good bishop's wife and be who she really is, while not disappointing Richard.

Then there is the relationship between Paul, who has a high ranking role in the junior leaders of the church and his Bishop, Richard, Chad's father. The things he reveals to him, feels comfortable telling him, feels like he has to tell him, and the way the Bishop helps him, I have to say, I'd lie like hell. Nope nothing to confess here. I've been very good. Never done one thing wrong. Don't need any help at all. Especially when I'd have to face him every time I went to my best friend's house. My sex life in my high school years was definitely my own business and I'd never have discussed it with the minister at church. It's a very different religion than what I grew up with. These kids feel it's their duty to tell their bishop if they well I can't say as I don't have a rating warning on my blog, but I'm not in the habit of confessing to a religious leader. But, if I had to confess that I had touched myself or done something with my boyfriend, Richard would be the man I'd want to talk to. Even in his mind he is the least judgemental person you could ever hope to meet and I do hope to meet someone as non judgemental as him, but I believe he's only a fictional character. Everyone has their judgements, I admit to mine and I'm not sure a man like him exists in this world.

And there's the relationship between Paul and his mother Barbara. While Paul is telling her he's gay she just keeps telling herself "I have to be a mom right now, I can fall apart later". She senses things are wrong or different and is open enough to what Paul reveals to her to keep the line of communication open. She's the one who recognizes just how hard this will be for him as a Mormon and she looks for signs of depression or anything she can do to help. She makes the best move for him in the end to help him out of a horrible situation, to save him the humiliation and hatred of closed minded people. She puts her son's well being before anything else, which is as it should be.

But the most important story in here is the relationship Paul has with his faith. He is not happy that he is attracted to boys. He wants to be a good Mormon. And he believes he can deny himself sex in this life so that in the next life he can have a wife and kids. He sees this as a burden he has to bear in this life for his reward in the next life. At one point, Paul receives his Patriarchal Blessing and after he reads it over and over he realizes it doesn't mention anything about him getting married and having children. It's something he's not sure he can do without being attracted to a woman. It bothers him so much that he goes to speak to the patriarch that did the blessing for him and asks him about his patriarchal blessing not mentioning a family. The Brother that spoke his blessing reads over his blessing and then says, "One thing we do know from the scriptures is that the way of exaltation is open unto all. If you live the way you should, if you live a life of righteousness and service to the Lord, there's absolutely no reason why you won't be able to be married and have a family in the eternities, whether or not you have the opportunity to have one in this life." Paul's faith is so strong that he's willing to vote against gay marriage (if he were old enough) and he believes he can live his earthly life without sex for an eternity with a wife and children after death. That is a strong faith and at the end of the novel, I really have no doubt that Paul will succeed and hope that God's plan does actually work the way the Mormon's believe because he deserves it for what he'll give up for the rest of his life.

This book is not filled with religious doctrine and preachy. Not at all! I would have returned it and said I just couldn't read it. I have my own personal religious beliefs and I'm still trying to work a few things out so anything very preachy is a big turn off to me. This absolutely did not affect the story at all. In fact I learned a few things about the Mormon faith that I really didn't know. I do not watch "Big Love" on t.v. but remember it's for entertainment and not education. Mr. Langford, the author of this novel is Mormon and would definitely know right from wrong as far as the belief systems and rules and relationships.

Towards the last few pages, the tissue box came out. I tried to be quiet because it was 2:00am and everyone was sleeping, except me the insomniac or reader with a great book. Mr. Langford develops the characters so well, you feel exactly what they're feeling and at the end you can't help but cry with Paul and the bishop as he talks to Paul from his heart. It was gut wrenching, bittersweet, you don't want that to be the solution and it makes me love Richard the bishop all the more. I'd marry him if I didn't have the best man on earth lying next to me married to me for seventeen years. Richard's visit is especially timely after what Paul had just been through with his own father. We'll just say Paul's father won't win any father of the year awards. The entire story is told through various people's eyes so you get a really good view of who everyone is and how their minds work. Some are so childish and mean spirited and others are just trying to figure things out. I don't think I've seen any more well developed characters in the novels I've read this year than in this novel.

As far as this being YA, yes, but definitely older, thinking YA. I don't think it gives the message to deny who you are or to be who you are. I think for Mormons, it would be an encouraging story. For others it might also be encouraging if you were trying to follow your strict religious views yet you were same sex attracted. But it isn't anti-gay. It does show how bullying can affect kids. And the bullies aren't always the ones you expect them to be. The Mormon kids didn't come out squeaky clean in this- they were bullies more so than any others when it came to homosexuality. But it's a great teaching tool about bullying without hitting you over the head with it. It shows bullying doesn't just happen in the schools. And the bully isn't always the big jock playing football or baseball, it could be the girl sitting next to you in Sunday School. I remember her even today sitting across from me in choir. And I'm not sure why I was the object of her bullying.

I am so glad Mr. Langford sent this novel to me to read. No I am getting no compensation for this review at all. It is not the type of book I'd usually go for, but I found so much to recommend about the book. The extremely well developed characters, their growth, the various relationships and how they grow, and how faith, in something bigger than yourself, can carry you through, guide you, help you make decisions, shape you, for better or worse. I'm not sure I've ever had such a deep faith in anything, like Paul. I hope I do someday.

Heather in Sandwich
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hrose2931 | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 29, 2010 |
Paul is a devoted Mormon. He loves his church and what they stand for. There is only one problem with this. Paul is gay. This is a big problem in the Mormon church. I really loved Paul's character. I love that he was a science fiction geek who was obsessed with the show, firefly. He was a sincere guy that always stayed true to himself. My heart broke for him so many times while reading this story. Paul had to go through so much. He had hate coming at him from all sides. Not only did he find himself receiving hate for his sexual orientation, but also for his religion. We humans like our labels. How someone be gay AND religious? It has to be one or the other, right? Paul's story reminded me that understanding and acceptance shouldn't be a "one size fits all" sort of deal.

Paul's best friend, Chad, was also an enjoyable character that developed so much throughout the story. To be honest, he had to grow on me. I wasn't sure I would like him in the beginning. I wasn't fond of his choice in the word fag. He had a lot of growing up to do. But I have to admit his character was very realistic. Langford caught the true voice of a teenage boy in both Paul and Chad.

Most of the story we see through Paul and Chad's eyes, but several point of views from the adults in Paul's life were added to the mix. While I did like to see how Paul was seen as through these character's eyes, I craved more of Paul's point of view. He was really such an interesting character that I didn't want the story to turn away from him.

The Mormon church is a big part of Paul's life, so naturally the church played a big role in the story. I love learning about other people's lives and how they believe. My favorite part of reading is being able to step into someone else's shoes for a while. But I did find myself getting confused in some parts of the story. I have no experience in how the Mormon church works. I don't know anything about the different Bishops and Deacons and Priests and teachers' quorums or how any of these things work. No Going Back is written in a way that I felt I was supposed to understand these things already. I feel the story would do good with a little more explaining on this part. (One thing I picked up, no caffeine? I. would. die.)

Aside from the few bumps in the road, No Going Back was an enjoyable story with a great protagonist. I recommend it to those who enjoy a solid coming-of-age story.
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YAaddict | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Dec 1, 2010 |
The Little Bookworm
As a whole, I enjoyed this book. It was an interesting story and one I have never read before. I really don't know much about the Mormon church so I was hoping to learn a little about it. I think I did. I definitely learned how they feel about homosexuality. Apparently it is ok to be "same sex attracted" as long as you never act on those feelings. Interesting. The main character, Paul, figures out he is gay in the eight grade and finally tells his best friend, Chad, in the ninth grade. The book picks up from there and explores every single reaction that someone could possibly have to finding out about Paul. It was interesting to see how the church and the bishop handled it. He and Paul's mother were the most understanding of the adult characters and Chad was the best teenager character aside from Paul. I liked how Paul struggled with the idea of his homosexuality as well as the idea of living up to his church's standards. I am, of course, much more liberal in my views but I also understand that my views are mine alone and I shouldn't force them onto anyone else like quite a few characters try to do to Paul.

As for the writing, I found that some of the dialogue and thoughts felt stilted, like someone writing them on a page rather than actually being thought. And the handling of the passage of time was awkward. And the subplot with Chad's mother was wholly unnecessary and bogged the book down in places. Without it this would have been a much better place. I would be interested in that storyline in another book about the adults, but it felt out of place here. But even given all of that, I still enjoyed this book. The characters and storyline was interesting enough to overcome it and I found myself impatient to find out what happens next. I became invested in Paul's situation and I wanted him to come out fine in the end. The resolution was satisfying
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thelittlebookworm | 3 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 25, 2010 |


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