Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Book: Hooligan - A Mormon Boyhood
Author: Douglas Thayer
Like/Don't Like: It made me wish a little that I had been a boy.

Unless you were an English major at BYU and spent your days growing pale and consumptive in the basement of the JKHB, you probably have never heard or Douglas Thayer. I'm glad I can introduce you. He's one of a handful of Mormon writers who can write about the religion and the culture without coming off as either preachy or bitter. It helps that he has a real talent for essays and storytelling. I took a class on Mormon Literature (where we did not have to read the Work and Glory) and fell in love with his dry wit and straightforward prose.

I always cringe when people start getting nostalgic for the good old days. But he's hardly sighing here. He's just recalling his childhood in Provo during the 30s and 40s - when he and his friends would roam the valley looking for adventures but usually ended up just skinny dipping in the river or shooting birds off of telephone wires or trying to scrounge up enough money to buy a popsicle to share. They would wish for the train to derail or a mental patient to escape from the hospital up the hill, just so they could see some action. It is a sweet and funny memoir that will make you want to ride your bike and sneak into the movies.

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