Sunday, October 31, 2010
No Going Back by Jonathan Langford
Genre: LDS fiction
Published: 2009, 312 pgs.
Source: Review copy from author/publisher
Review: 4.5/5 stars
In the first chapter of No Going Back by Jonathan Langford, fifteen year old Paul tells his best friend, Chad, that he's gay. Both are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which teaches that any sexual relations outside of marriage between a man and woman are morally wrong. Paul struggles with his desire to stay a faithful member of the church and the attraction he feels for other boys while Chad struggles with having a best friend who is gay. We also get the points of view from their parents and how this affects them.
I really, really liked this book. It was not always comfortable to read but I grew to love the characters and really sympathized with the struggles they each had, including the parents and church leaders. I often found myself thinking, "Is this really the way teenage boys think, act, and feel?" I definitely have a new perspective on what it means to be a young man and the issues they face, whether they're gay or straight.
Same-sex attraction is not an easy topic to discuss but I think that Langford has written a story that most people will be able to identify with. The book is heart-breaking but also hopeful and I hope that many people will read it. I recommend this book but I do it with a warning. The language is edgy, definitely PG-13, as the teenagers speak the way teenagers often do. There is also a little sexual content that is not described but is a bit uncomfortable. I hope this doesn't keep too many people from reading the book because it is very insightful. As a member of the church, I felt that he did a good job of representing the Church's teachings and views but he does not claim to speak for the Church (which is how it should be).
Rating: 3.1.3 The 3 for sexual content is not because of the description but because it is homosexual in nature.