A gay teenage Mormon growing up in western Oregon in 2003. His straight best friend. Their parents. A typical LDS ward, a high-school club about tolerance for gays, and a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution. In NO GOING BACK, these elements combine in a coming-of-age story about faithfulness and friendship, temptation and redemption, tough choices and conflicting loyalties.
About the Author:
I’m in my late 40s, married with three children. Grew up in western Oregon, but I now live in western Wisconsin. I have a BA and MA in English literature from Brigham Young University, but stopped before finishing a doctorate in medieval literature from the University of California at Riverside. In addition to professional writing and editing, I have also taught freshman composition part-time at several colleges and universities.
Here's What I Think:This book is most definitely outside of my normal reading choices. I was intrigued by the fact that it took place in Oregon (as that is where I live). The technique of the book, is solid, how ever the styling is a little bit "wonky" for me. The change in point of view seems to happen at the wrong time. I also feel that if you are not familiar with the Mormon faith (not to say I am an expert but I do know the basics) you may feel that this book is a little too preachy, especially when the bishop speaks. I do understand that the bishop is in fact "preaching" to Paul, but sometimes I felt it was a little too much for the storyline. Ultimately this story is supposed to be the coming of age of a teen named Paul, who is stuck in midst of trying to figure out just where he fits in to a faith that is decidedly against what he is pretty sure he is - a gay teen in a politically charged environment of a state trying to take a stance of gay partnerships. I did like how Langford was able to cast a more positive light on a very controversial topic. In fact it is a unconventional tactic for addressing this topic, making it more human and real. The basis of the story is about friendship, learning what it really means and how far it can take you. I was pleased that the story did not come to a "happily ever after" ending, but rather a realistic jumping off point for the rest of life. You will definitely need an open mind to read this book for what it is.
Disclaimer: Although I did receive a copy of this book for review purposes, I was in no other way compensated to write this review.