Monday, January 25, 2010

Time and Eternity, by E. M. Tippets

It's okay. It's not great, it's not a total stinker, it's just okay. I know some fellow Mormons would think I need to be excommunicated for saying that. Our leaders admonish us to support media that is uplifting, morally straight, spiritually affirming, etc. Technically, I agree. My problem with a lot of LDS literature is that the happy ending is predictable. It's not just a Disney-esque "boy meets girl, boy marries girl in the temple", it's also the attempt to explain the developments in the plot as the result of divine intervention, an LDS deus ex machina, if you will. Every conflict ends more or less the way most LDS people think problems should end: someone's testimony is strengthened and a new family unit begins. I guess I've seen enough situations where that LDS happy ending DOESN'T happen, that I can't totally suspend disbelief for the neat tie-ups at the end of many of the LDS novels I've read.

So here's the "so-so" summary for this book: Alice, a 26 year old accountant, is baptized into the Church by her boyfriend. As the relationship "progresses", the boyfriend gets increasingly physical in his expression of affection to the point that he is not adhering to the moral standards taught to the youth in the church. When she asks him whether or not the standards for youth are applicable to singles, he gets testy and eventually they break up.

Besides the breakup of her relationship, Alice's parents and the company she works for are also on the verge of splitting up. Under a merger deal, Alice's supervisor is working to keep Alice with her in an upcoming move to a different state. Alice prays about the situation, and gets a very strong feeling that she'll have a proposal before she has to make a decision about a possible job offer with the new company.

As the weeks pass, Alice has to maneuver through the unique position of a new convert in a singles ward where most of the members are looking to aggressively date in the hopes of getting married. Once she breaks up with the young man who baptized her, she wrestles with the thought that either she got the revelation she received wrong, or maybe she placed her faith in something less than true.

Her parents' marriage goes down in a ball of flames. Her father wants out of the marriage, and her mother vacillates between abject despair that the marriage is over and denial that divorce is imminent. Alice can't do much but try to encourage her mother to do more for herself to start moving on and avoiding her father's condescending criticism of her mother.

Alice's life eventually works out when she lets go of her expectations and hangups and she meets, duh, duh DUH! the love of her eternal life.

I'll say this much: I'm glad that Alice declares that being single is NOT the end of the world for an LDS woman. I dislike the attitude that one MUST be married to be an acceptable child of God. Women can be single, intelligent, and able businesswomen and still serve in the Lord's kingdom. A big thanks to Sis. Tippets on that note.

2 comments:

  1. No I haven't read this, but I like your review because you pretty well summarize what my problems are with most all LDS fiction lol!

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  2. I think I would hang myself if I had to read all the LDS lit! Brave woman! But I'm a heathen and probably need to be excommunicated! :)

    ReplyDelete

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