Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: No Going Back by Jonathan Langford

Book: No Going Back by Jonathan Langford
Genre: Fiction... perhaps YA.. not really sure where I'd put it
Rating: A-
For: Review
From: Copy sent by the author

I  must admit that ever since I realized what this book was about, I've been a little nervous to read and review. But hey! I was  pleasantly surprised how this controversial subject ended up being handled.

This is the story of a 15 year old Mormon boy... a Mormon boy who is also gay. It takes place during the couple of years in high school in which he comes out to first his friend, then his mom, his church leader... and finally to the rest of the school (though that was accidentally.) The story is told from several characters' points of view as they react to and deal with this news. But mostly it's about Paul, and the feelings, conflicts and situations he has to go through.

His best friend freaks out at first, but sticks by him and defends him to the end. His church leader is amazingly loving and supporting. His mom is also unusually fine about the whole thing. Other kids in the school, and at his church are pretty awful though. And his dad is infuriating.

The internal conflicts he goes through are heart wrenching. He loves his church and wants to still be part of it, but this is a problem since it feels being gay is wrong. But I loved how this issue was left in a hopeful way, where he didn't necessarily have to decide, at least at this young time in his life, to deny either part of himself.

It's a hard subject to read about.  There were some reactions (both positive and negative), and some characters that seemed a little unrealistic to me. But, I was happy that he had lots of people around him that stood by him, even though he still felt all alone in the world. Also, I was worried it would reflect poorly on the Mormon church, but instead, it was actually quite positive.

Bottom line: In the end, I'm glad I read this one! I would like to think that this book would be a help for anyone, especially a Mormon teenager,  going through this same situation.

Other Reviews:

One Librarian's Book Reviews
Confessions of a Book Habitue
Good Clean Reads


  1. You're braver than me. I can't handle these kinds. I always feel they're agenda pushing.

  2. I think there's a real need for this kind of book in the LDS literary repertoire. It's a real issue that a surprising number of teens and adults in the church face.

    I'm glad to see it was so well-handled. I want to read it.

  3. Hi Suey,

    Thanks for a positive and thoughtful review. I'm glad you wound up liking it!

    Responding to Techno Grandma: agenda pushing is certainly always a danger when you're writing about a controversial topic like this. I can only say that I did my best to be fair to many different viewpoints. My chief goal was to write a story that readers would care about, while at the same time making it easy for readers to understand and sympathize with Paul's situation. Regardless of what a person thinks about the issue, I think there's value in coming to a better understanding of other people.



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