Official Review: Toward Happier Choices by Michael Oborn

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.
Forum rules
You must limit each topic thread in this section to only one book or only one series. Make the title of the topic the name of the book, and if possible also include the author's name. If you want to allow spoilers, you must include the word spoilers in the title of the topic, otherwise spoilers are prohibited.
Post Reply
User avatar
Previous Member of the Month
Posts: 1354
Joined: 03 Sep 2016, 15:34
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 70
2017 Reading Goal: 25
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 400
Favorite Book: <a href=" ... 665">Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban</a>
Currently Reading: The Sleepwalker
Bookshelf Size: 356
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Dire Wolf of the Quapaw by Phil Truman
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Official Review: Toward Happier Choices by Michael Oborn

Post by MarisaRose » 24 Mar 2019, 12:12

[Following is an official review of "Toward Happier Choices" by Michael Oborn.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review

Toward Happier Choices by Michael Oborn is a quasi-memoir. The book is split into three sections: “Short Stories,” “Potpourri,” and “Exceptional People.” The first section is a collection of vignettes depicting events that played a role in the author's decision to leave the Mormon Church and seek out a different way of life. The second section is a collection of musings, opinions, and beliefs. Finally, “Exceptional People” includes five essays about individuals who have greatly influenced the author in one way or another. Throughout the entire book, Oborn revisits his conclusions about the Mormon Church.

From the very first page to the last, the author’s voice shines throughout the narrative. I was quickly enamored with Oborn’s storytelling; it is his expert use of retrospection that makes this book truly engaging, especially in the “Short Stories” section. The stories Oborn chooses to share are interesting, but it is his newfound point of view used in the telling of each story that provides readers with clarity and understanding of the impact these various events had on the author’s life.

The essays found in “Exceptional People” were just as impressive. In this section, Oborn’s prose is impassioned. My favorite essay, “Gina Sue,” is a poignant telling of Oborn’s current relationship; he discusses Gina Sue with eloquence and depth. I was pleasantly surprised by the intimate picture Oborn paints in this essay. After reading the majority of the book, I felt I knew a lot about the author’s life, opinions, and ideals; however, it was “Gina Sue,” which comes at the very end, that truly made me connect with the author on a spiritual level.

Unlike the clear focus of the first and third sections, the second part of the book, as the title “Potpourri” suggests, is a mix of random ideas and beliefs. This section lacked the engaging storytelling found in “Short Stories” and the intimate observations of “Exceptional People.” Some of the chapters in this section are incredibly short, like one about the author’s opinion of abortion, which is only three paragraphs. Although a lot of what Oborn has to say in this section is interesting, “Potpourri” lacked the depth and personal connection apparent in the rest of the book.

Despite Oborn’s enjoyable prose, Toward Happier Choices is in need of professional editing. The narrative contains a plethora of errors, including missing commas, incorrect word usage, and improper sentence structure. Although these errors did not significantly detract from the narrative, they were glaringly obvious. Due to the grammatical errors and lack of focus in the second section of the book, I rate Toward Happier Choices 3 out of 4 stars. With professional editing and reconsideration of the second section, Toward Happier Choices will be a stand-out work. For now, I recommend this book to readers interested in memoirs about reformed Mormons and reader’s interested in gaining a new perspective on life.

Toward Happier Choices
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like MarisaRose's review? Post a comment saying so!
"No two persons ever read the same book." -Edmund Wilson

User avatar
Posts: 210
Joined: 01 Feb 2019, 09:20
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 45
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Sigfried’s Smelly Socks! by Len Foley

Post by Crazyreader01 » 29 Mar 2019, 11:12

This sounds like an original and refreshing form of a memoir. I like the sound of the short stories, I think it'll be interesting to see exactly which events shaped the author and compare them to my own.
Thanks for the review!

User avatar
Posts: 1896
Joined: 22 Apr 2018, 10:31
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 60
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Enemy No. 1 by James L. Repace

Post by gen_g » 29 Mar 2019, 11:25

This sounds like such a beautiful book - but a pity about the editing errors. Still, I'm intrigued by the Mormon religion, and this seems like an interesting place to start. Thanks for the review!

User avatar
Posts: 248
Joined: 06 Feb 2019, 16:37
2019 Reading Goal: 24
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 54
Favorite Book: A Loaf Of Bread
Currently Reading: Pretties
Bookshelf Size: 16
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: The Rhine by R.L. Dean

Post by spencermack » 29 Mar 2019, 20:21

I hate it when a great writer misses edits. Hopefully, these can be rectified. Great review!
Spencer Mack
Latest Review: The Rhine by R.L. Dean

User avatar
Posts: 305
Joined: 19 Feb 2019, 22:34
Currently Reading: Democracy in America
Bookshelf Size: 28
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Tesla Model 3 Revealed by Mel Weiss

Post by Juliana_Isabella » 29 Mar 2019, 21:37

It sounds like this might be worth reading if I skip the second section.

User avatar
Jaime Lync
Posts: 1332
Joined: 15 Mar 2017, 19:33
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 90
2018 Reading Goal: 20
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 115
2017 Reading Goal: 12
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 500
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 105
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: The End-Time Foretellers by Ran Weber

Post by Jaime Lync » 30 Mar 2019, 01:22

This book is definitely not for me, but I enjoyed your review. thanks for sharing.

User avatar
Amanda Deck
Posts: 321
Joined: 02 Jun 2018, 21:00
Currently Reading: Control Room
Bookshelf Size: 67
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: The Warramunga's Aftermath of War by Greg Kater

Post by Amanda Deck » 30 Mar 2019, 13:59

"Reformed" Mormon? That sounds like he changed and escaped from something awful. I lived in Utah for several years and was generally impressed by the community support I saw. I especially liked that their thrift stores employed people who needed help and gave clothes and other items to those people until they were back on their feet.
It's true that I've heard some quite odd things about the Mormon church too. It might be interesting to hear the point of view from someone who left it.

User avatar
Posts: 1020
Joined: 27 Feb 2019, 18:57
2019 Reading Goal: 104
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 31
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 38
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: Burying Leo by Helga Gruendler-Schierloh

Post by Prisallen » 31 Mar 2019, 09:00

It sounds like this book would have been better if he had left the second section out. At least, hopefully, he can take another look at it and add a little more depth to that portion. Good review!

User avatar
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 8178
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2019 Reading Goal: 95
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 42
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 94
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: Scorched
Bookshelf Size: 276
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: E M P Honeymoon by Dorothy May Mercer

Post by kandscreeley » 01 Apr 2019, 08:29

It's too bad about the errors, but I love the way this one is organized. It's a bit out of the norm, and I understand why you described it as a "quasi-memoir." It seems like it'd be really interesting, and I am curious as to why the author left the Mormon Church. Thanks.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

Posts: 2927
Joined: 10 May 2017, 19:49
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 56
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 106
Currently Reading: The Engine Woman's Light
Bookshelf Size: 239
Reviewer Page:
Latest Review: An Unexpected Mess by Marie Washtag

Post by kdstrack » 02 Apr 2019, 17:27

The difference between the three sections is curious. I really enjoyed your description of his writing and his experiences sound interesting. Thanks for the recommendation.

Post Reply

Return to “Non-Fiction Books”