Then I thought about it a bit -- and looked my blog up and down -- and thought "Well, okay, maybe he does have a tiny little bit of a point..."
On that note, I would like to post the first two reviews that have appeared on the Internet of my novel Exmormon!!! The first one is by my brother and the second is by my cousin.
Now I know what you're thinking!!!
You're going: "Hmmmm... so her novel is printed and distributed by Lulu, and all of the reviews so far are by her own relatives..."
But I swear, it's not like that at all!!! It's just that in our family we're such go-getters that when a fantastic new novel hits the market, we tend to be among the first to review it!!! That's all!!!
So, without further ado, here's my brother's review which he posted to his blog here:
C. L. Hanson's semi-autobiographical novel, Ex-Mormon, is filled with vivid characters and situations -- brought to life through the kind of rich detail that could only be mustered by a keen, inside observer of the Mormon subculture.
The imagery is so real, the reader will almost wonder whether the author was working from detailed notes taken during her own childhood. Not only does the book provide valuable insight on growing up Mormon at the end of the 20th century, each one of the novel's intertwined stories is a page-turner in its own right. All in all, Ex-Mormon is a must-read whether you were raised in the Mormon subculture or not.
And here's my cousin's review which she posted on the Reviews forum of exmo-social:
I remain incredibly impressed by Exmormon.
And I'm not just writing that because I'm chanson's cousin. I did find some of the characters mildly recognizable - the grandparents selling juices and vitamin supplements, for example. I also remember helping chanson deliver papers early in the morning, so some of those descriptions I found particularly poignant.
The work is a quick page turner. I recommend reading when you have an uninterrupted block of time. I wanted to find out what happened next -- how the characters fit together.
I don't feel the chapters that chanson posted on her blog really do the novel justice. Read together, the different characters and voices give an arc of continuity to issues commonly faced by those coming of age. And especially by those coming of age in mormonism and in leaving mormonism.
It is a must read for anyone leaving mormonism. This work compares with other prominent exmormon memoirs and could be thought by some as even more relevant. Especially those of us who grew up and left that church in the 80s and 90s.
In comparison, two well known exmormon memoirs by Deborah Laake and Sonja Johnson are powerful, yet they really describe the experiences of people leaving at different times. I found Exmormon to be much more thought provoking for the very fact that it was written from different perspectives and characters.
Chanson is a keen observer and gifted at bringing those observations to the page. The characters were well developed - I feel I could carry on conversations with any of them.
I particularly liked the many cultural references to growing up mormon - the lyrics to Saturday's Warrior, for example. Or the description of the harried family trying to quickly get ready for church and not waste all the hot water.
I've already mentioned it to chanson, I'd like to see some graphic representations of how the characters relate to one another. Many characters (Lynn and April, for example) are members of the same family. They were easy to keep track of but I did find myself confused at some points (especially at and after BYU) about how everyone related to one another. Other novels in the same style (like As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner) do not have such representation, but I think that the work would be enhanced by diagrams of relationships.
For example - April - Lynn - Annette (the Hanson Family).
I look forward to reading more of chanson's work! Again, this novel is highly recommended.
But don't just take my brother and my cousin's word for it!!! Read Exmormon for yourself!!!
You can order a copy here.