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Monday, March 4, 2013


Oh, my Mormons. How I love stories about thee. That's why I picked up Elders by Ryan McIlvain. I got so much more than I bargained for in beauty, in characters, and in story.

Elder McLeod is so close to finishing up his mission in Brazil; just a few more months and he can head home. The only problem? He has yet to find the security in his faith he set out to find on this mission. When he is joined by a new partner, Elder Passos, Elder McLeod must dig deep to find care, honesty, and forgiveness, which isn't easy--each has his own demons with which to wrestle. As Elder McLeod's choices lead toward a final, fateful one, these two learn what friendship is and how fraught it is with emotional landmines.

This book was a lovely and beautiful piece of artwork on love, faith, and struggle. It is earnest and careful, and McIlvain cares for his protagonists so deeply. It shows in the writing. These boys have such beautiful characters arcs and they are written so beautifully that it is hard to not understand McLeod's choices that result in his downfall. I couldn't blame him for his choices, which did not mean that I cheered him on. I could only be a mother to him and hug him when he returned from his mission.

I also found this same pathos for Elder Passos who had lost his mother at a young age and yearned for a faith that could guarantee the hereafter on a tangible level, which the Mormon faith was able to give him. Even if you despise the dogmatic you can't help but feel such empathy for the young man who only yearns for what he had and seeks solace in his rigid beliefs.

It's just a lovely, lovely book that speaks to the humanity in us all, regardless of our faith, gender, or creed. I feel so honored to have read this novel that spoke to my soul.

For you!

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