Dear AMG friends:
I hope you’ll forgive a break from the regular programming for just a few days.
Because on August 7, a new and expanded edition of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith published by the Free Press / Simon & Schuster will hit the shelves of bookstores nationwide.
I’m writing to express deep thanks to all of you who supported the first self-published edition of The Book of Mormon Girl. So many of you wrote reviews, told friends about it, read it, wrote me with your thoughts. Thank you. What you’ll find in the new and expanded edition is almost two chapters worth of new up-to-the-minute material, book club and readers’ guides, and some significant revisions too.
I hope you’ll like it.
I wrote this book for the New York City editor who told me a few years ago that “the whole Mormon thing” was too “weird” to write about. If it’s still okay to say out loud that Mormonism too “weird,” I thought, then we need to keep telling our story—our stories—of faith, love, humor, heartbreak, and humanity, until the world sees us as human beings.
And I wrote this book for all the Mormons who feel it’s too difficult or dangerous to talk about our questions and struggles and heartbreaks with this amazingly compelling faith. Too many Mormons live their questions without companionship or encouragement. I wanted to help change that.
After I self-published The Book of Mormon Girl, I heard from readers who told me that the story I told helped them feel less alone and more encouraged to keep the faith:
“The Book of Mormon Girl 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
“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
“We loved The Book of Mormon Girl, and we lent it to a dear friend of ours in the ward who had been struggling for a long while. Upon returning it to us the next week, she said, “I feel for the first time that I can continue to be a part of this church.”–John in Washington, D.C.
It’s a story that’s connecting with non-Mormon audiences and reviewers too.
Let me share with you some early reviews and blurbs:
“In this enchanting memoir, Brooks…re-creates with enormous feeling the sense of belonging inculcated by the community of kindly, well-intentioned Latter Day Saints… [and] chronicles her painful years of ‘exile’…. Throughout this heartfelt work she remains braced and true to herself.” —Publishers Weekly
“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, New York Times-bestselling 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, New York Times-bestselling author of The Family and Sweet Heaven When I Die
You will be able to find The Book of Mormon Girl at Barnes & Noble, Target, Salt Lake City-area Smith’s, Deseret Book, and indy booksellers.
If you liked the first edition, or if you like the heartfelt, honest writing you find at this blog, I’m asking for your help.
Can you post a review to your blog or Facebook page? Facebook, tweet out or pin up some BOMG-related media, like this video? Host a BOMG reading, party, or book club meeting? (I may be able to Skype in, or I may be travelling to a city near you this fall.) Ask your local bookseller or library to stock BOMG, or host an event? Hand the book to a friend?
The reason I put my story out there was because I believe that there need to be more books by and about Mormons on the shelf of your local bookseller–beyond Under the Banner of Heaven and ghostwritten polygamy escape memoirs.
And I put my story out there because I believe good things happen when we are brave enough to tell our stories with an open heart.
Creating and sharing book has already been an amazing adventure. If its message resonates with you, I’d be grateful for your help.
PS. Tune into the Daily Show this Thursday night. I’ll be talking BOMG with Jon Stewart. Couldn’t be more thrilled.