The Reluctant BloggerPosted: February 10, 2014
I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up this paperback from a table in the Deseret Bookstore. It had been misplaced. Maybe someone intended to buy it and changed her mind. I bought it just because I had started blogging book reviews and the book piqued my curiosity. I figured I probably wouldn’t review it. How good could it be: first time author, Mormon fiction, was it just a book of blogs? Oh, how wrong I was.
I loved this book. Todd is a 30-something man who had lost his wife to an aneurism. He was raising three children on his own, lonely, and coming unglued. He is referred to a psychiatrist by his bishop. Todd sits week after week in the doctor’s office without saying anything. Dr. Schenk gave Todd one last chance to open up – blog your thoughts on a private blog. At first, Todd had short blogs, but he eventually got into it. No, the book is not a collection of blogs. Here and there are blogs. Otherwise, the book would be boring and it is anything but boring. I found myself snickering and sometimes feeling sad for Todd. He had been married to the love of his life for 15 years and she was gone.
Everyone thinks that the cure for widower-hood is to get married again, soon. His father, a former bishop, told him that repeatedly. His friends encourage him and even set him up to meet eligible women. Todd has some amazing guy friends that have been with him for years and are supportive of him. When one of them confesses that he is gay, Todd does not know what to say. It is this guy’s wedding day and he’s left his fiancée at the altar, so to speak. What a dilemma!
Todd depends on his mother for advice and babysitting. Less than a year after his wife’s death, Todd loses his mother. Todd’s father, a bastion of all things Mormon, quickly remarries. We see how that turns out. No spoiler here!
Todd is now grieving for his wife and his mother. Todd finds someone he likes and starts dating. But his oldest daughter, Alex, doesn’t like her. Alex gives Todd a her-or-me ultimatum. Painful! Todd goes back to being lonely, eventually finding another woman. That does not turn out well. Their dates produce several funny and awkward moments. What is really going on with 13-year-old Alex? It’s not too hard to figure out. She has lost the two strongest female figures in her life and her father is attempting to replace her mother.
The book has plenty of surprises. The issues that the book deals with are familiar to Mormons. Todd is a likeable character as are the three children and the extended family. Family is what this book is about. The writing is clean. The Reluctant Blogger is a quick read and thoroughly entertaining. It even makes the reader think. I recommend this book to anyone who is LDS or non-LDS and understands the culture.
By Ryan Rapier (Published by Cedar Fort, 2013). My rating: 4/5
Related review at http://www.tlynnadams.com/2013/07/review-of-reluctant-blogger.html.