A lot of my good friends have joined my Facebook Fan page. (What? Seriously? You haven't yet? Oh. I see. Really? OK. Whatever. But you can. You know that, right? Click here, or, on the button below and on your right).
Some are young and some are not. Some are Mormon, some are Catholic, some are Jewish, some are Protestant, some are nothing at all. You get the idea.
That raises a question: is this book just for Mormons?
I've been thinking about that. The short answer is that I hope not. At least, no more than To Kill A Mockingbird is just for folks in the South or The Chosen is about Orthodox Jews.
That being said, the book is written by a believing, active Mormon and it's about Mormons--so there are cultural references that might seem different (no worries, though! I made a glossary) and the characters' assumptions are based on the teachings of the Church. There is a lot about the healing power of Jesus Christ, but I think don't think that's unique to Mormons.
Two good friends, who have different religious traditions both read it. One loved and didn't feel that it was exclusively for Mormons. Another friend read it and connected with some of the characters, but found some of the terminology confusing (hence the glossary). She also commented that one part of the book had an "Us vs. Them" feeling. I hadn't noticed or intended that--and I deeply regretted it. I believe that her response was based mostly on the tone of some smart-aleck comments made by the boss of one of the characters. That feeling was based on some comments made by the boss of one of the characters. Twere all based on things that have really been said to me over the years--and I meant them to be funny, but I guess they came off as harsher than I intended. Since the boss is one of the few characters who is not a Mormon, that vibe got created. Unfortunately, the book was already in the stages where no big changes were allowed. Since then, I've been a bit apprehensive of people reading it--since the whole point of the book is supposed to be about love and healing. So, if you are one of my dear friends who is not a Mormon, please know I love you!
Ultimately, I hope that the characters are humans who are struggling with problems. They are Mormons and experience their struggles in that context, but my hope is that people of any background will find something to which they can relate.
I guess we'll see in June.
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