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Nichole - Dirty H if you're nasty

I like to read about boys who like other boys. I don't like angst. I don't like high fructose corn syrup.

Currently reading

Brainy and the Beast
J.M. Cartwright
Between Sinners and Saints - Marie Sexton This book deals with some heavy stuff but handles it really well. I liked but didn't love the characters, but the way Marie handled the heavy stuff, particularly the religious angle, was so good it bumped a 4 star book up to 5.

Having never experienced sexual abuse I can't speak to that aspect, really, but having grown up Mormon I can say that this is by far the most complete, the most accurate and the most compassionate portrayal of the Mormon faith I have ever come across in gay fiction. Not that I've come across it that often - a handful of books, and of course, the movie Latter Days. But they almost always have at least one cringe-worthy moment. (I will say that Pepper Espinoza is one that does it right, too. The times that she's addressed Mormonism in her books either on her own or with Vivien Dean haven't been as intense or emotional or complete as this, but it's accurate and worth reading.)

If you don't know much about the Mormon church or weren't raised in that religion and are curious about it, I highly recommend this book. If you're like me and you did grow up Mormon and really struggle to reconcile a religion and a community of people you love with that same community's extremely frustrating views on gay rights, I recommend it even more. This book put words to so many issues I've been struggling with and it did so beautifully. It made me cry, and I don't cry.

What I liked best was the way Marie used all the different members of Levi's family to show all the different types of Mormons there are and the differences in their beliefs and attitudes. She shows the whole range, without needing to vilify anyone. She highlighted the Mormon faith's emphasis on family. And she shows a resolution that was realistic and wasn't too easy or convenient. She didn't take any shortcuts.

The "Mormon thing" is the primary theme of the book. Or maybe it just seemed that way to me because it was what resonated. But the secondary theme (or possible co-primary theme) is the way Levi and Jaime work to help get Jaime over his past and the way it affects his present. Because I don't have any personal experience with this, I can't speak to its accuracy but I do think it was handled carefully and with dignity. I did think that maybe Levi handled it a little too well, I don't know how realistic that part was, but I still liked it.

Bottom line - this book is very religious and if that isn't your thing then you probably won't like this. There's a lot of prayer and that might make some people uncomfortable (though I actually really loved those parts). But if you have any interest in the Mormon religion and how it relates to gay issues, you will not find a better portrayal. Forget what you saw in Latter Days because that was offensive. Read this instead.