Tuesday, March 4, 2008

And Just The Right Amount of Lust

Last week I started reading a much-hyped "best book ever" novel but by Friday I couldn't do it anymore. It was lusty and violent. It left nothing to the intelligence. I kept thinking "Not of good report. Not of good report."

Look, nobody likes a little lust more than me, but when the author starts to stretch adjectives to describe reproductive organs it's too much.

So I threw the book in the trash.

"Chup" says I, that very evening "I need to go and buy the book Bound On Earth that everyone at Segullah keeps raving about."

And so we made it a date to go the next day to purchase a new book for me to devour.

But the next morning, when I checked my e-mail, to my surprise Ms. Angela Hallstrom, author of Bound on Earth, had sent a message to my in-box.

Would I like a copy?

Holy crap.

Call it The Secret, or Treasures for Righteous Living, or What You Get For Throwing Trash In The Garbage but I couldn't help but feel rewarded. Plus, she promised some "Mormon lust." The best kind. The safe kind.

On Monday the book was in my mailbox.

And by page 4 I was already feeling major emotions.

The novel follows a storyline of a Mormon family, moving through generations, all bound together through covenants. All of the stories are familiar. Really familiar. It was though Angela had read my journal for inspiration. And having just read other reviews, I see that I am not the only one with that suspicion. On Mormonmentality.org reviewer Annegb says "Angela Hallstrom got inside my brain and wrote a book about it." And Darlene Young (one of my favorites) said "She and I could be twins in the kinds of stories we like, the kinds of situations we find interesting to write about."

In particular, the book starts with a young couple having marital problems caused--in my opinion--by the husband's lackluster choices. Having been in a similar (eerily similar) situation in my real life, I quickly hoped that the wife (Beth) would resolve the problem in the same manner I did. Leave. Run. For your life.

Beth: I've been digging and digging. I don't know how long I'm supposed to keep digging until it's okay for me to stop trying to find him.

Tied to this story are other stories of relationships. Beth's grandmother, her parents, her sisters. All sharing a similar theme through differing perspectives. Answering likewise difficult questions: When to stop having children?
When to let the wayward child go?
When to stand up for yourself?
When to have faith?

And in the far past, a great grandmother is chased by maternal tragedies and her desire to hold on to her last living baby.
When to believe in miracles?

It nearly hurt me (read: anxious) to wait until the plot resolved in the end.

And when I was finished (I couldn't put it down, it sadly took less time to read than I would've liked) I sat on my couch and thought about choices. Staying verses leaving.

I felt grateful for generations of couples in my family who decided to stay bound to their covenants. Our covenants.

But I was also grateful to have known when covenants weren't meant to be made. My covenants.

And grateful still to have spent time reading a book of good report.

Buy it here.


Spockwingdiamond said...

What was the first book you were reading?

Beth said...

great review, must read now!

Patti said...

I've read a lot about this book, but your review made me want to run out and get it now. Thanks.

Tricia said...

I just finished reading it yesterday. I'm not a big fan of LDS fiction but I really liked this one. I want to know what you were reading first too!

Katrina said...

You've convinced me. I'm gonna get it.

c jane said...

Let's just say that the first book was an Oprah book club selection.

Haley said...

Aren't you SOOO grateful for the choices you made? Good and bad.. You're so lucky and SMART. :)

Bertie said...

Thanks for the recommendation! The book is now on my wishlist:)

sarah said...

Wow what a woman of influence you are! Very impressive.

Mirjam said...

I think I just read the same Oprah book club book and I thought it was disgusting. How can that be "the most beautiful love story of all times"?! Oh well I'm skipping on to better reading.

Lizzy/The Tip Spot said...

oprah's book club books are always the same. thanks for reporting about your good report. i usually won't read lds fiction but if YOu liked it it must be good.

mayday said...

That is going on my list. Thanks for the recommendation. It sounds extremely good.

Jessica said...

Loved that book review! I had to skip the description, because I am the kind of person that likes to know NOTHING about a book when I start it (other than that it's good) but everything else was, as usual, hilarious and perfect.

I'm adding it to my GoodReads list immediately.

Sarah said...

I'm not shocked to hear that it was an Oprah book club selection. I think lustfullness is a requirement for her novels.

Thanks for a review of a good book. I am always looking for something worthwhile to read.

Sue said...

I'm afraid to read it. I'm afraid it's going to be like Anita Stansfield - what with the young couple having marital problems. It's not like that, is it?

c jane said...

Sue, put your hand in mind and trust.

M said...

Great review! Sue, it's SO not Anita Stansfield. I promise. More like... Anne Tyler? I don't know. But not, not, Anita Stansfield.

Elizabeth said...

Want to read it!

(I actually read your post and called around the local bookstores and looked online to try and find them and couldn't find a place with the book in stock.)

c jane said...

Oh no! I actually heard that the BYU bookstore will have it soon.

By-the-way, cute pic Elizabeth. Really cute.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks. You flatter me.

Angela Hallstrom said...

Elizabeth (and anyone else who might be interested)--the BYU Bookstore just got their shipment today, and the Barnes and Noble people tell me that it's available at the Orem store, but for some reason nowhere else yet . . . hmmm. I'm doing a signing at the B&N in Sandy in April, so hopefully they'll have some by then. I'm sure if you asked your local B&N they could order it in.

So far, the novel isn't available at Seagull or Deseret Book, but we're working on that. It's also available in the Salt Lake County and City public library systems.

And can I just publicly thank c jane for her review and her support? I feel so lucky to be able to reach the exact audience that I think might enjoy Bound on Earth through blogs like this. Oh, and if any of you are interested in suggesting the novel for your book club--if you live in the SL/Provo area, I'd be happy to come and chat. And I promise to be entertaining. And that my feelings won't be hurt if you don't like one of my characters, or the way the book ends, or the fact that my author picture in the back is disconcertingly large (it really is, and it wasn't my choice, but what are you gonna do?).

Anyway, thanks to all of you for your support. I hope you can find the book and read it and enjoy it.