book review: the new york regional mormon singles halloween dance: a memoir

by elna baker

At times I was completely in love with Ms. Baker, and then at other times, I just did not buy what she was saying. Ms. Baker tells the story of growing up in her Mormon family, living all over the world with them, and then her move to New York. Like all good Mormons, she is supposed to get married. But she was fat and not really into Mormon boys. What’s a girl to do?

I picked up the book because of her supposedly amazing weight loss. I don’t buy this part of the story. We don’t ever see any picture of her fat. There are apparently none on the internet, I’ve looked. So, while she might have slightly large calves, by her calculation, I can’t really believe she was ever fat. I think this was calculated. She wants to be a performer and becoming the fat Mormon woman who is skinny now would not be good for her image.

We also get some great insight into being Mormon and as readers of my blog will know, I love conspiracy theories and strange religions. I have had a few friends who were Mormon and always wondered what it would be like to explain my religion to others if I was Mormon.

“You see, this guys found some gold tablets from God, but instead of taking the gold with him, he reburied the gold, and then when he came back the tablets were gone.”

And you believe this? Ms. Baker sees how strange her religion might seem to others. And, as readers, we go with her, as her walk of faith is tested. But, at the end of the day, she decides she is still Mormon and I don’t buy this either. Really? You get that your religion is made up, but you still believe? I guess we all believe in make-believe sometimes; it keeps us sane.

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