Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: PublishAmerica
Release Date: May 4, 2001
ISBN: 1588513521
Awards: 2000 finalist for the Masters Literary Award, Mille Club Award, Reviewers Choice Award for Sime-Gen's mainstream category Spring 2001, semifinalist for New Millenium Literary Award, and others.
Format Reviewed: Paperback
Buy it at Amazon
Read an Excerpt
Genre: Literature and Fiction - Literary
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Kristin Johnson
Reviewer Notes:

This Is The Place
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson  

America forgot about Utah.
Until the Olympics.
Until Elizabeth Smart.

     The kidnapped teen who briefly knocked the war in Iraq off the headlines was the subject of a radio interview given by This Is The Place author and Utah expatriate Carolyn Howard-Johnson. If you're from Utah, you'll have to order the book online, because mysteriously, it cannot be found anywhere in the state. It's easy to see why; books that challenge an established religion such as the Mormon Church the way This Is The Place does have traditionally not been welcome. Utahians are missing out, because Carolyn Howard-Johnson's lyrical book is a tough-love letter to Utah, and more importantly, a lesson in tolerance.

      The generations of one large family are bonded by both kinship and conflict. The heroine, half-Mormon, half-Episcopalian Skylar Harriet Eccles, faces the heartbreaking choices of young women in the '50s, conforming to the expectations of family and society or finding her own way. She is ostracized by not being Mormon, and ostracized for being Mormon. Even her friend Karren (who gets a tragic comeuppance when Sky turns a deaf ear to her secret troubles) chastises her for not being a good Mormon, saying, "I can't wait 'til you die so that you find out you are wrong." Small wonder Sky, conflicted over her marriage to full Mormon Archer Benson, wishes to leave Utah.

     Through writing her family history, she discovers that the men and women closest to her have faced the same choices in the past and also rebelled against expectation in their own ways. Her Gram Harriet, for instance, who turns away from Sky when Archer and Sky decide to be married in St. Mark's Cathedral instead of the Mormon Temple, dyed her hair red to stand out from her husband's first wife. Howard-Johnson's ending, as poignant as Kate Chopin's The Awakening, shows we all want to stand out, but we also need acceptance. We can help others find it by reading this book and thinking of Utah.

© MyShelf.Com. All Rights Reserved