Book Review: Garden of Enid, Part Two by Scott Hales

Book Review: Garden of Enid, Adventures of a Weird Mormon Girl, part two, by Scott Hales.

About six or seven years ago, the LDS Church did a survey of non-members, asking them their thoughts on the Mormon Church.  The responses included that we were very family oriented, honest, hard-working, and …. weird. Yes, weird.

In a Happy Valley world full of Molly Mormons and Bobby BYUs, traditional families, and a LDS chapel on every street corner,  Scott Hales brings us into a universe of stark contrasts.While many Mormons seek to be less weird in the eyes of the world, Hales creates a character that embraces weird. Her own kind of weird.  Enid is a teenager who has never met her father, lives with a severely depressed and sickly mother, and struggles with the messiness of her new-found religion.

The first volume (Part One) took Enid through her first experience with Especially For Youth (EFY) and the beginnings of a testimony. Part Two takes her through her 16th birthday and a search to find her roots. Scott Hales earned an award from the Association for Mormon Letters (AML) for Garden of Enid, part one.

For Enid, finding herself means making sense of the things going on around her. Why is her mother bed ridden and continually depressed?  Who was her father and wy did he leave before she was even born? Why does her seminary teacher continually quote Bruce R. McConkie?

 

How does Hales understand the teenage mind, particularly that of a teenage girl?  When I was young, I asked my grandfather how old one had to be to understand women. He answered that he didn’t know, as he hadn’t reached that age yet. Hales has somehow reached that age to understand women, as his stories reach into the souls of Enid and her mother. These are not cut out two-dimensional characters. They are as real as you and me. I was ROTFL at Enid’s snarky humor (sarcasm is best served up cold and in generous quantities), but also felt deeply her great losses along the way.

In dealing with literature and history, Enid invites authors and dead prophets into her world. Talking with Joseph Smith, an angel named Eugene, Bigfoot (of David W. Patten fame), Juanita Brooks and Charlie Brown, Enid attempts to make sense of LDS history with all of its pros and cons, strengths and skeletons.

I especially loved Enid’s t-shirts. Many stories include little phrases tied to Mormonism: “Radio Free Zarahemla”, “Eight Cows Seriously?”, and “Mormon Misfit.”  Several blogs are also mentioned on Enid’s shirts: “BCC”, “Times and Seasons”, etc.

This graphic novel is a great one for parents to share with their teenagers. Some of the themes will be beyond what smaller children can understand. However, for parents and teens the stories open the door for discussions on life’s trials, doubt and faith, relationships, and going through tough times with the help of friends and a great bishop.

I highly recommend this book. I would go so far as to say I super duper highly recommend this book, if Scott Hales will only put M-Star on one of Enid’s t-shirts in Part Three.

 

Available February 14, 2017 – a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your misfit sweetheart!

Greg Kofford Books

Amazon.com

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Garden of Enid, Part Two by Scott Hales

  1. I’m so glad you reviewed this – I look forward to reading it with my band of weird misfits.

    I’m betting it will remind me of the awesome RS birthday celebration I spent with ladies I’d never met in Cedar City. We laughed so hard we cried. Sisters in the gospel are sisters indeed.

  2. Purchased both the first graphic novel and the new one and read them both. Highly recommended.

    Enid reminds me of several individuals in my life, though I am not aware of any one person who has all her particular quirks, much less her specific experiences.

    You can also see the archived comics on tumblr:

    http://thegardenofenid.tumblr.com/archive

  3. I didn’t know it was on tumblr. Thanks for the link, Meg. Free is good.

    Looks pretty cool from what I’ve read so far.

    Maybe some of that could be adapted for single adults. 😉 But then, the bright side, even when unspoken, of humor about weird kids is that they have the possibility of growing out of it, and most do. For most of us single weirdos over thirty/forty/fifty, the tragedy is that we didn’t grow out of our weirdness.

    At first glance, it looks like the benefit of the comics is to illustrate that there is room in the church for a wide variety of cultures, personalities, and individual styles. After all, the church is about the gospel, not culture or personalities or styles.

  4. Every individual knows that they are the hero of their story. Every individual also knows their deeply, deeply weird.

    As my autistic daughter noted, there’s some similarity between Enid’s pain/panes and the comic strip Hyperbole and a Half. That’s another delight that is available on the Internet and also in the printed book form. Hyperbole isn’t about Mormons, but it’s similarly about the human condition.

    Too bad I find Wyler to be a whiner. His interaction with Enid is in some ways more significant than any other male character, but I’m Team Kyle all the way.

  5. The characters and interactions are strong and convincing. I do like Kyle better, but the book explains why they will only ever have a platonic, though close, relationship.

  6. Spoilers… I know, but I just much prefer reading the panes that include Kyle to any of the panes that include Wyler.

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