Posts Tagged ‘reader responses’

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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3 More LDS Reviews

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

So last Saturday (Nov. 20), I got email message from two Mormon bloggers telling me that their reviews of No Going Back had been posted. Then today, I happened on a third review at another website that I hadn’t seen before. Below are a few excerpts from these three reviews (plus links to the full reviews), followed by some philosophizing about the value of blog reviews like these for No Going Back.

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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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On Being an Emotional Yo-Yo

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Quick one tonight:

I was feeling somewhat discouraged earlier today. Someone who had agreed to read and review my novel backed out, because she thought it might have more “questionable” bits than she was comfortable with. And I went on Goodreads and found another 3 rating, which brings down my average.

And then I did my periodic Googling on my name + No Going Back, and I found a tweet from earlier this week from a blogger who’s reading my book and liking it more than she was expecting. And suddenly I’m feeling happy again.

It really is true (for me at least) that as an author, I can’t really separate my own ego from how people react to my book, no matter how much everyone seems to claim that it ought to be possible…

Dialogue Review

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

There’s something particularly gratifying about having your work taken seriously enough for someone to discuss it at length. It’s all the nicer when someone has positive things to say about your work. I had that pleasure this past week, when a friend pointed out a review that had been published in the latest issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought.

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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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Reaching Out

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

A year and a half ago, I wrote the following as part of my Writing Rookie series at A Motley Vision website:

I’m a socially motivated person. I like spending time with people, talking to people (face-to-face or at a distance), getting to know people. Part of what I’ve always liked about literature is the feeling of truly getting to know the people I’m reading about. Characters are my friends.

Writing stories, I find, is the same kind of activity—taken to another octave of intensity. The horrible vulnerability that comes in story-writing is the flipside of this desire to reach out and connect to other people on the kind of personal level that comes with creating something that touches your readers.

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Mixed News

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

The last week or so has been kind of bittersweet from my perspective. The Whitney Awards were announced, and while I was very pleased to have been a finalist, I was unsurprised to discover that I didn’t win the award in my category. (The person who did win the award, Jamie Ford, is a very fine author whose book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, is the one I thought probably would win, so I’m not complaining.)

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