Books

The Book of Mormon Girl:  A Memoir of an American Faith, (Free Press / Simon & Schuster) is a story about growing up and embracing the challenges of faith. It’s a story about being found, then lost, then found again: a story that belongs not just to Mormons, but to everyone.

Reviews:

“Lyrical, resonant . . . Brooks writes with an urgent intimacy reminiscent of Elizabeth GIlber’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ coating even the most painful memories with a honeyed warmth.  There is a steady strength here.”–Boston Globe

“A talented memoirist . . .a luminous ode to Brooks’ passion for Mormonism, in spite of her church’s rejection. It is a memoir written not just for herself, but for others who continue to pursue their faith in the face of abandonment because ‘No one should be left to feel like she is the only one broken and seeking.’”–Minnesota Star-Tribune

“Entertaining . . .moving”–The New Yorker

“Brooks’s sprightly yet thoughtful prose, her carefully constructed narrative and her passionate yet forgiving activism make hers a rare memoir that ended too soon. It is a triumphal declaration of unorthodox faith and an engaging — if unconventional — introduction to an American religion.”–The Washington Post

“Resonant, witty, poetic. . . A welcome corrective for many Americans’ stereotypical views of Mormonism. Brooks holds out hope for what she calls ‘the great unmapped possibilities of Mormonism: a life of searching inquiry, fearless because we knew all truths pointed finally to the glory of God.””–The Christian Century

“Ground-breaking, honest, and deeply poignant look at a misunderstood religion through one woman’s refreshingly open perspective.  Genuinely thought-provoking on many levels. . . Brooks she creates a bridge for everyone – man or woman, gay or straight, Mormon, Jewish, Born-Again – to relate to another person’s struggles and rejoice in the overcoming of them.”–Literary Inklings

Praise for The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of An American Faith:

“Oh wow. I doubledare you to read The Book of Mormon Girl in your book club.  Bring a casserole and roll up your sleeves for an original, provocative argument about dissent in faith communities!  Even if you’re not one of those fine believers who store up food for the Apocalypse, you’re likely to agree that Joanna Brooks has singlehandedly redefined the word courage. Prepare to be surprised.”
–Rhoda Janzen, Author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress

“This gorgeously written, deeply intelligent memoir of an ordinary girlhood in an ordinary Mormon family is one of those most unusual and most valuable of personal stories, simultaneously sweeping and intimate, a book of both broad vision and precise detail. The Book of Mormon Girl is about one particular religious subculture, but it will resonate with anyone who cares about childhood and its echoes in the adult mind of a scholar who’s also a wise and innovative storyteller.”
–Jeff Sharlet, NY Times-bestselling author of The Family and Sweet Heaven When I Die

“This is a story of deeply loving one’s faith, surviving its narrowness, renouncing its arrogance, and ultimately reclaiming the church. It is as smartly rendered as language can be, and it is beautifully, universally true. It gives me hope. Hope for our miscounted daughters, for our misunderstood grandmothers, and for the achingly faithful hearts, like mine, still beating and bleeding for peace, tolerance, and the seemingly lost cause of human respect. It gives me hope for our common lineage: love.”
Karen Maezen Miller, author of Momma Zen:  Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood and Hand Wash Cold:  Instructions for an Ordinary Life.

“Disarming, funny, wrenching, and inspiring. This is a quietly fierce, authentic, and faithful voice, one that insists her religious tradition is young, and the next chapter yet to be written.”
–Philip Barlow, Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, Utah State University

“Laugh-out-loud funny and break-your-heart poignant. A triumph.”
–Carol Lynn Pearson, author of No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons Around Our Gay Loved Ones

“A compelling memoir of being found and lost and found again. Brooks is a contemporary Mormon pioneer.”
–Jana Riess, author of Flunking Sainthood and Mormonism for Dummies

Cheers from real readers:

“I can’t believe how wonderful your book was.  Made me feel less alone, and most importantly, made me feel like I can be myself at church and don’t necessarily need to run away and sit on the sidelines of Mormonism.”–Tawnya in Salt Lake City, Utah

“This is one of those books where I can’t wait till the next chance I get to read it. I take extra long baths and extra trips to the bathroom to sneak in a couple pages. Free time is precious with a teething baby and 4 year old!”–Laci in Phoenix, AZ

“Your book was so forthright, funny, and spiritual.  I devoured it in one night.  Reminded me of growing up in Southern California Mormonism. Thank you!”–Mark in American Fork, Utah

“I’m speechless. I want to hand your book to other Catholic women like me. Thank you, thank you, thank you”–Nadia

“Thank you so much for every courageous and loving page of your book! I could not put it down and read it in a day. I laughed, cried, snorted, and sobbed and felt like my story was being told. Thank you for speaking up and for being true to you and giving Mormon girls like me and my daughters hope and peace in following our hearts.”–Alyson in Arizona

“Your story inspires me to continue unravelling my own.”–Katherine in Boise

Here are some rocking reviews:

“This is an incredibly well-written, intelligent but emotional look at the Mormon religion  . . . I was blown away by how Joanna balances honesty about certain less savory aspects of LDS history and culture with a profound love and respect for the religion and its heritage.  Unlike other Mormon or ex-Mormon memoirs I have encountered, this one is undeniably fair, and it fills a much-needed niche. This is the Mormon memoir we’ve been waiting for. I loved this book.”–The Blue Bookcase Blog

“I don’t just like Joanna Brooks’ memoir of growing up ‘in a conservative Mormon home among the last great orange groves of Orange County, California;’ I freaking loved it.  I want to buy stacks of them, put on my nicest prairie length skirt and go door to door asking my neighbors to read The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories From an American Faith and then pray to Heavenly Mother for a witness of its truth. I say this as an atheist who has never been a Mormon lest you think the honesty and heartbreak that pours off the pages of The Book of Mormon Girl is limited to the Elect. You don’t have to be a boy to love Catcher in the Rye, or a Jew to relate to the Diary of Anne Frank, and Brooks memoir lands squarely in that tradition.–Crazy Woman Creek, Feminist Mormon Housewives blog

“The Book of Mormon Girl is a window into contemporary Mormon history, told from the minority view, what I’ve termed “progressive Mormonism.” It is helpful to understand that view, so this is a book worth reading whether you agree with the author’s views or not.”–Times and Seasons blog

“Brooks dispels the myth that Mormon women are all cut out of the same cloth, with the same thoughts and beliefs. She shows that it’s okay to grieve for the things we wish were different, that we can find our voice, even if we’re most comfortable speaking quietly and politely, and that we can love the church and want to be part of it without embracing every aspect of it. The Book of Mormon Girl is an engrossing and important memoir.”–Shelah, Segullah

“Warmth, humor, connective threads,and spiritual yearnings and testifying make me feel like, as a Utah Mormon girl, welcome at Joanna Brooks’ Mormon feast.  I devoured this book.  And I encourage others to do the same.”–Emily, By Common Consent

“Joanna Brooks has produced a collection of memories and stories with imagery that will linger long with me.  There will be other books of Mormon stories, and born-again stories, and memoirs from every tradition, and there will be light and happiness, and there will be blood. Joanna’s is one experience among many – but one told with a power, grace, and humor that you will not forget.”–Paul Harvey, Religion in American History

I am also the author or editor of five other books including the award-winning American Lazarus: Religion and the Rise of African-American and Native American Literatures (Oxford, 2003) and Transatlantic Feminisms in the Age of Revolutions (Oxford, 2012).

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