When religion really doesn’t matter:

I was reading this article from the Wall Street Journal where juvenile fiction critic Meghan Cox Gurdon reviewed one of my favorite reads this year: Matched. As I was reading through the first of the review, I began to wonder why the review of this book started out with a synopsis of Twilight but decided to pass over that as a lot of books start out being compared to that particular book. Then I realized oh, it’s because they are both Mormon the author of this ridiculous review (If you can even call it that) decided to compare the two books, not on merit, or similarities or even writing style, she compared Ally Condie with Stephanie Meyer because they both wrote Mormon Fiction…

Well Meghan you are wrong and the fact that you could even throw religion in as a profile makes me sick to my stomach. Being an Atheist myself I generally don’t look for or care what religion someone else is. I am tolerant. I do not spout my beliefs ever or even have religious conversations, it just isn’t something I am interested in as a topic at all. I also don’t like to talk about wars, politics, or my extreme crush on Vladamir Putin. So Mrs Gurdon when I read your literary review of this book I was shocked to say the least that you used religion to band together two books that come from a completely different spectrum of YA because the authors of two different books share a religion.

Shame on you and the Wall Street Journal for this type of condescension.

And they say we book bloggers are the problem. Major Pfft.

Just to note Meghan the only comment on your ridiculous article is from a man named Richard Packham and the only thing he gleaned from your astounding wax poetic on Matched was this:

From the review (I have not read the book) it seems that Condie is really writing a critical comment about Mormon society. Anyone familiar with Mormon culture and customs will recognize Condie’s description of the novel’s “Society” as a fictionalized Mormon church: no choices are allowed; the Officials make all decisions, and they do not make mistakes; only bland, nutritious foods; too much technology leads to disastrous “error.” Will Mormons recognize themselves? How long before the officials of the Mormon church will discipline Ms. Condie and condemn her books as “not faith-promoting”?

13 Responses so far

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    Disturbing to see that this reviewer compared the 2 authors based on their religion. Its not like either author writes “mormon fiction” anyway.
    Sad. Shame on Wash. Post.

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    Yeeeesh. Yet another review that seems more about Twilight than the actual subject.

    I find it interesting though that for all the people who bring up the fact that Condie and Meyer (and Pike) are all Mormon writers of YA, they hardly ever mention the fact they share the same agent. And then you have other Mormon authors (White, Dashner) with different agents for whom it’s just another factoid, not the major authorial point after (or perhaps in the eyes of some, before?) the book.

    I have no idea where I was going with the above, but it’s something, I guess…

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    This is why i get annoyed when things get compared to twilight , how is something the authors have in common relevant to Matched in any way or form, how ridiculous! I have to say i am in love with your blog, you have done an amazing job, keep it up i will definitely be a regular from now on! :)

  4. Gravatar

    That comment that the guy left really disturbs me . . .

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    agreed Natasha! That is why I posted it. Because out of all of the article THAT is what that guy took away from it.

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    I don’t think she read it…. I mean, compare Twilight with Matched??

    What is there to compare? Just that the authors are both of the same religion? Really, why does this matters?

    About the Society and the Mormons, I have no idea. But I loved Matched. ;) And the funny thing is, I don’t think people in Matched are allowed to have a religion.

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    I read that article too, and was wondering why in the world it mattered about the religion. It was very bizarre!

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    People are so hung up on religion, and Americans seem a bit hung up on Mormons…and Scientologists…and yes I am an American. So ridiculous.

  9. Gravatar

    Back when Matched was announced in PW last year, Ally Condie was said to be “the next Stephenie Meyers” and there were a lot of irrelevent comparisons: their religion, the fact that they were both stay at home moms, the fact that they both had three children (I believe three boys, even). I remember thinking…um, I’m a stay at home mom with three boys who was Mormon at one point in my life, can I get a million dollar contract because of the similarity please?

  10. Gravatar

    Haha weird! I’ve heard more reviews comparing Matched and Hunger Games. based on Subverting the dominant paradigm. It’s always amazing (in an upsetting and literally unbelievable way) the minor ties people use to link books. Very weird.

  11. Gravatar

    This reviewer and her one commenter are also not very well educated, apparently.

    “Mormon Fiction?” Neither writes whatever that actually is. What they write is not endorsed or associated with teh LDS Church.

    As far as the reviewer’s commenter:

    “…No choices are allowed; the Officials make all decisions, and they do not make mistakes; only bland, nutritious foods; too much technology leads to disastrous ‘error.’”

    Please excuse my defense, as some may take it, of the LDS church, but these ridiculous statements, as classifications, if I may, are blatantly FALSE.

    I am Mormon and for someone to say that we make none of our own choices, that we eat only bland, nutritious food, that too much technology leads to disastrous error(s), simply based on comparisons to a book is ridiculous! And to even suggest that we don’t make mistakes is the most far-fetched thing I’ve ever heard!

    1) I make ALL my own choices. So does every other member. We believe that the way we will return to our Heavenly Father is through the gift that he gives us of AGENCY: making choices!!!

    2) Bland, nutritious food? Honey, if that were true and you saw what was in my fridge you’d turn me in! (Especially right after a holiday!) Everything’s better with bacon (well, unless your a vegan or vegetarian, and then I’m sorry ;)

    3) Technology is a gift of our age & times! We are counseled, not COMMANDED to use moderation in EVERYTHING, from technology to whatever other hobbies we might have. It is about priorities, much the way the rest of the world functions. If you are a mother, and your child starts crying, you don’t sit at the computer and continue to do whatever you’re doing, or at a video game and continue to play. You take care of what is important first.

    4) And as far as us never making mistakes! I would like to laugh in this reviewer’s face over this one, but that’s not very nice :( We are absolutely IMPERFECT!!! If I believed I were perfect, why would I go to church? I go to church to learn how to be more Christ-like.

    I’m sorry for being religious on your blog, but I wanted to make sure the line was drawn and that the truth of the matter was given. As far as her comparing the two authors, I guess that speaks for itself. I expected more from The Wall Street Journal. I haven’t read “Matched” yet, but I have wanted too so bad (I just found out Ally Condie was Mormon today, so that had nothing to do with it.)

    I agree with Trisha, America is caught up with both and I don’t understand it. If your curious, ask questions, if not, drop it. Nothing to go on about. There are much stranger things that transpire in the world.

    Thanks for the insight Pam, again, sorry for getting all religious :)

    Ashlie

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    Ashlie

    Thank you for bringing the perspective of the Mormon religion to my blog. I could not defend that faith as I am completely ignorant to the practice but I think the reviewer made plenty of mistakes with this article and I wanted to point them out. If you ever want to guest post here on this topic please email me. pam@eurobands.us

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    Hmmmm . . . very interesting that the response goes there! I do not consider myself to be a religious person, but this comment still bothers me! And to be honest, my strongest reaction came from the bland food comment . . . the best food and recipes that I have eaten or use actually came from my multitude of Mormon friends!! LOL!! :)

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