Book Review: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

New York Regional Mormon Singles Dance

A gifted story teller and comedian, Elna Baker takes us on a roller coaster ride of wicked fun.  With candid humor she relates her struggles as a  chunky kid and young adult, growing up NOT in Utah, but in Seattle, Madrid and London. She chooses to attend NYU instead of BYU as a young adult, setting her dream on becoming a New York actress. With astonishing will-power, Elna sheds eighty pounds fast and discovers she has not changed, but men, in general, react differently to the now svelte Elna.  With great comedic skill Elna Baker weaves for the world a tale that is  one part journey of faith, one part laugh-out loud funny, and the remaining part adorable, yet carnal.  In the pen of a lesser talent,  this tale would come off as goofy, instead The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance is a delight.

It is clear to  the reader Elna has a strong belief in the gospel and she does not care what the rest of us may think of her.  I was most impressed with Elna’s ability to show the good, bad and ugly of LDS culture and doctrine in a charming, believable and quirky way.

Elna Baker

On page 9:

Once I tried explaining it to a friend who had the mistake of thinking the founder of the Mormon faith was John Smith. I told him that it was actually Joseph Smith, and then I went into all the things I believed. I thought I was doing a good job explaining everything until he said, “So basically John Smith and Joseph Smith were two different people but, according to you, Pocahontas was actually a Jew?”

On page 22:

Which brings me back to the beginning: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance. Me, in the corner by myself, with too many cookies and a notebook. To make  matters worse, I just witnessed a thirty-five-year-old man—definitely a virgin–dressed in a duck costume doing the electric slide.

I read my first review of this memoir in my hometown paper a couple of weeks ago. Intrigued I bought it immediately on Amazon. I feel it my duty to inform our M* readers, I was unaware The New York Regional Mormon Singles Dance is rather naughty. I have to be honest in admitting I found her G and PG excerpts to be funnier than the  PG-13 and R excerpts.  Elna also warns  her audience in a brilliant PR move on her dedicatory page:

Mom and Dad,

I could never have done this without your faith, support, and constant encouragement. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself, in God and in-my dreams.

This book…aside from the nine F-Words, thirteen Sh-words, four A-holes, page 257, and the entire Warren Beatty chapter…is dedicated to you.

You might want to avoid chapters twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, anything I quote Mom saying, and most of the end as well.

Sorry.  Am I still cute as a button?

Love,

Elna

That pretty much covers it. So if you can be comfortable with the language and the PG-13 sexual content you will find this book to be honest in engaging hilarity.  If not, don’t buy it, just borrow it from the library or a friend instead.

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About JA Benson

Joanna entered the world as a BYU baby. Continuing family tradition, she graduated BYU with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for several years. Growing up in Salt Lake County, her favorite childhood hobbies were visiting cemeteries and eavesdropping on adult conversations. Her ancestral DNA is multi-ethnic and she is Mormon pioneer stock on every familial line. Joanna resides in the Southeastern USA with her five children ranging in age from 8 to 24. Her husband passed away in 2009. She is an avid reader and a student of history. Her current intellectual obsession is Sephardic Jewish history, influence and genealogy. She served as a board member for her local chapter of Families with Children from China. She is the author of “DNA Mormons?” Summer Sunstone 2007 http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2007/04/dna-mormons/ and “Becoming Hong Mei`s Mother” in the Winter Sunstone 2009 http://theredbrickstore.com/sunstone/becoming-hong-meis-mother/.

13 thoughts on “Book Review: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

  1. This book has definitely been getting a lot of attention in the Bloggernacle and even in the MSM, and that’s a good thing. Elna sounds like a good representative of our faith. It’s too bad writers feel they need to resort to PG-13 and R language, but that is pretty common these days.

  2. Thanks Brian.

    I agree Geoff, Baker’s book is going to make some waves. It will be controversial on whether it will be good for our church. I think it is, because her book will garner goodwill and interest with non-mormons. NYRMSHD could be the _My Fat Greek Wedding_ we all have been waiting for. It really takes a talented author, who is on the edge, to really make such spot on observations about the LDS people and our beliefs.

    I am just holding my breath that her bishop does not dis-fellowship her. If he does, Baker will not be able to control herself, and “the court of love” will become part of her routine and somehow she will make it funny.

  3. NYRMSHD could be the _My Fat Greek Wedding_ we all havve been waiting for.

    I was unaware that anybody (much less “we all”) had been waiting for the Mormon equivalent of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

  4. Christopher, I think it is more accurate to say we have all been waiting for “My Big Fat Utah Wedding Reception Following the Temple Ceremony Where We All Eat Green Jello.”

  5. Christopher, By All, I mean my family, distant and far flung cousins, friends, the AML-list (Association for Mormon Letters) a few years ago, and anyone else who liked “My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ , and wanted a Mormon version. So sorry you are not part of our popular people who like ‘My Big fat Greek Wedding club’. ;)

  6. An excellent review. I’m just finishing up the book myself, and it is an absolute riot.

  7. Great review. The excerpts I’ve read remind me of many of the 25-40 year old Mormon “virgins” I know. Dancing close to the edge makes a more entertaining and more realistic story than safely avoiding even the appearance of evil.

  8. “I was unaware that anybody (much less “we all”) had been waiting for the Mormon equivalent of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

    I think there are many of us that are still waiting for a well-written LDS comedy, maybe a screenplay based o this book could be the first one?

    I’ve already purchased the book, though I can’t write a review because it’s my wife’s Christmas present.

  9. Randy B. thanks for stopping by with your support. The last chapter was just too much for me, but her resolution was nice.

    Course Correction-Thanks for stopping by the comment. For entertainment purposes, I agree a story has to have a conflict and some spice. In real life, it is probably harder to do without getting a broken heart.

    jjohnsen-

    I think there are many of us that are still waiting for a well-written LDS comedy, maybe a screenplay based on this book could be the first one?

    I think this may be it. Letting it all hang out for the world to see might be hard for a lot of members.

    I’ve already purchased the book, though I can’t write a review because it’s my wife’s Christmas present.

    Do what I do. Lock yourself in the bathroom or closet and read to your hearts content with everyone banging on the door every 5 minutes. Then wrap it up and give it to her. You have almost 2 months to read in leisure. Enjoy.

  10. I like this article yet do not agree on all of your points. Can not dispute with the general sentiment though. Well crafted too!

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