My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one of those books that people either seem to love or hate. And most of the hate seems to either come from people within the LDS Church who think that Elna Baker’s depiction of being in a Singles Ward and a member of the Church are somehow lies or just exaggerations. And, of course, there are the people who say that she is being narcissistic and self-centered by writing this book because she only talks about how things pertain to her, but that’s kind of the point since this is a memoir. Then there are the people who are easily offended by the content, which could be a problem for some for more conservative backgrounds (i.e. many Mormons) and who are more comfortable with G and PG books and movies. Personally, though, I think this book is easy to relate to, humorous, and nowhere near as “obscene” as some folks claim.
Baker’s position in her own family is as the Funny One, which totally makes sense because this book is very funny. She has a quirky sense of humor. Her wit kept me laughing through much of the story. The only times where it didn’t were when she was very open about her struggles with weight loss and with finding love, which is especially difficult for her since she is an atypical (meaning liberal) Mormon struggling to find her place in the world, as well as in a church she grew up in. It is extremely easy to empathize with her awkwardness and her sadness. And I completely understand what it feels like to want, from youth, to be beautiful and to feel attractive. Her explanation, especially in the part where she lets her body talk, made me sob…a lot. It is just so poignant and raw and real.\
Her writing makes it easy to realize that some people that she’s met in her life are rather horrid individuals, among them Jeff, the white women who purchased dolls at FAO Schwarz, and her almost fiance. Jeff’s taking advantage of her, convincing her to let him touch her breasts under her bra (though she only was comfortable with his hands being over her bra), then telling her to keep that event between the two of them–as though he was ashamed of what he did with her. The white women who were so obviously racist because they were so closed-minded that they couldn’t imagine letting their precious daughters play with a doll that looks like it is a minority. And her almost fiance who would talk down to her and seemed to like to “put her in her place” so that he could act like he was better than her. They were just absolutely pathetic.
This book wasn’t perfect, but it was still great. There were some minor editing issues with it–nothing too awful. Overall, I think it was one of the best memoirs that I’ve read in a while.