Posts Tagged ‘reader comments’

Non-Mormon Reactions to No Going Back

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I’ve had another positive review of No Going Back from a non-LDS reviewer. Heather at Buried in Books wrote in part:

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…. 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…. The things [Paul] reveals to [Richard, his bishop], 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…. 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…. Towards the last few pages, the tissue box came out. I tried to be quiet because it was 2:00 am 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…. 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.

I really couldn’t hope for a better response than that — particularly from a reader who doesn’t share Paul’s faith (and mine).

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More Reviews

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Several more blog reviews of No Going Back have shown up in the past few weeks — mostly positive, and all providing interesting insights into how people perceive and react to the book.

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Talking with Readers

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

One of the best parts of having written No Going Back has been the chance to have conversations with readers of the book: Mormons, non-Mormons, ex-Mormons; literary readers, nonliterary readers, occasional readers; those with firsthand experience of homosexuality, those with secondhand knowledge, and those with little direct knowledge. Partly that’s because I think the themes of the book are important, and I like talking about them. And partly it’s because I find it fascinating — and instructive — to find out what my own writing looks like through other people’s eyes.

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No Going Back — Young Adult Novel?

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

A somewhat different version of this column, oriented more toward broader questions related to the YA literature genre in the Mormon market, is posted at A Motley Vision website under the title “Some Definitional Thoughts About YA (Mormon) Fiction.”

Who’s the intended audience of No Going Back? In particular, does No Going Back fit the definition of a young adult (YA) novel? That’s proved to be a tricky question.

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The Writing Rookie #12: Realism and Artistic Convention

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Here’s a somewhat belated addition to my series based on insights from writing my first novel, No Going Back. For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.

Cross-posted from A Motley Vision website.

If art is, in part at least, the imitation of reality, it’s an imitation that’s largely bounded by and grounded in artistic convention. That’s something I’ve long been aware of from a literary/critical perspective, but writing a novel myself — and then seeing the reaction of different readers to the specific choices I made about where and how to be “realistic” — has borne that truth in on me in a particularly vivid fashion.

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Going Back and Coming Out

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

A few days ago, I had occasion to talk to a long-time friend (non-LDS, gay, and a literature professor) about his reaction to No Going Back. What, he asked, was the significance of the title, in my opinion? Which led to possibly a longer answer than he had anticipated…

I suppose I should include a spoiler alert here. So, here goes. If you keep reading, you’ll find out about things that happen toward the end of the book. Selah.

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Annette Lyon: NGB Avoids “Didactic Landmine”

Monday, January 18th, 2010

I was reading a post over at the AML blog by Annette Lyon, an author of six LDS novels, when I started to get nervous. She was talking about the importance of not writing didactically, where the message drives the story. I was wondering what she would think of my novel, when I encountered the following:

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The Writing Rookie #11: Overcoming Fear

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

This column is cross-posted from A Motley Vision website. For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.

Fear is, I’ve come to realize, one of my great personal enemies as a creative writer (along with laziness). Part of this is probably just because of the kind of person I am. I suspect, though, that part of it may be endemic to the writing process.

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No Going Back Discussion Questions

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

One of my main motivations in writing No Going Back was to stimulate discussion, both about the book itself (hey! I’m an author, I like feedback; live with it) and about the topics it addresses.

Over Christmas break, I drafted a set of questions that I thought might help prompt interesting discussions among readers of my book. Sadly, the notebook where I wrote down my ideas disappeared… So here’s Take 2 at some “official” No Going Back discussion questions. Please feel free to post responses, additional suggested questions, etc. (more…)

Top Ten Reasons Why No Going Back Is a Great Read!

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Yeah, I’m still on Christmas break. But I couldn’t resist the temptation to post something. And so…

Getting comments from readers of my novel has given me a new appreciation of Tolkien’s observation that elements of his book that “are to some a blemish are all by others specially approved.” Despite this, it seems to me that there have been some common themes among those who like my book. The following list, then represents (in unranked order) my summary of some of the top reasons why I think  No Going Back is worth reading — based on reader responses to date, together with my own thinking. (Or — to put it another way — no one else seems to be beating down the door to list all the reasons why my novel is wonderful, so I need to do it myself.) Please feel free to read, respond, and (hopefully) add reasons of your own! (more…)