Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys
A Novel

by Janet Kay Jensen

      The world is changing. In some ways it is becoming more tolerant and in other ways less. When less, we find 9/11 and Iraqi wars surely follow. When more, we find people of all ethnicities getting along just fine - as we always have in America - and we'd do even better if the rabble rousing talk show hosts would temper their bile with a little compassion.

In its underpinnings, Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys by Janet Kay Jensen is about tolerance. Luckily, it is a book of the sort that can make a difference for good in the world.

Of course, many read for pure entertainment. Those who do will also enjoy this book. They may hardly notice its serious side for it has enough romance, humor and surprise (think! all those fringe members of polygamist groups!) to keep us turning those pages.

A young doctor from Utah must find his own way after he falls in love with a fellow doctor in medical school and is rejected by her. To serve and forget, he chooses a mountainous area in Tennessee after he graduates. As many interesting characters reside there as he left behind at home. The story revolves around his coming to terms with his antagonists - that is the whole closed polygamist community that his ex-girlfriend was born in and the ex-girlfriend herself who is committed to her family and community. Along the way he encounters quirky prejudices in his own family and his new-found community.

The story structure required that the polygamist pod provide most of the conflict, yet Jensen portrays them sensitively. We not only learn about their way of life but see them as people who acted as they do because they live behind a cultural barrier and, in their isolation, are fearful and ignorant of other ways. That may be one of the reasons that most intolerance exists - for lack of opportunity to associate on a personal level with those who are different from us.

There is a low moment in this novel somewhere after the second plot point when I feared Mormon Boys might deteriorate into what I consider a typical Christian novel (I know, my prejudices are showing but there are so many such novels with insipid, tell-don't show, predictable endings or, perhaps it is just that I have seen more than my share of them). Anyway, hang in there. Christians will not be disappointed they did, but neither will the rest of the reading public.

The Book

Bonneville Books / Cedarfort
Trade Paperback
Fiction / General
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The Reviewer

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the award-winning author of This is the Place, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, and a chapbook of poetry titled Tracings, winner of the Military Writers Society of America's Award of Excellence and named Top Ten Best Reads by the Compulsive Reader. She is also the author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books including The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success and The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't, the 2004 winner of USA Book News' Best Professional Book of the Year and Irwin awards.
© 2008