3 out of 4 stars
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In the wake of modern LGBT social movements, where more and more people are summoning the courage to openly identify themselves as LGBT in a heterosexist society, we also hear many stories about the LGBT community and their stories of coming out. However, whilst some are heart-warming, some are also difficult to hear about, especially when it involves intolerance.
Kerry Ashton’s memoir, titled Saint Unashamed: A Gay Mormon’s Life, is one such story, where religion (that of Mormonism) and homosexuality collide. Brought up during the 1970s in the heart of Mormon influence, Ashton tells the reader his painful yet heartening story of his journey towards accepting his homosexuality. This story begins from his childhood, where he remembers being abused; to his college life, where he was raped during one of his sexual explorations as a homosexual; and finally, to the present, where he finally accepts himself as he is.
I have to say that I appreciated this book very much. It is obvious that Ashton has spared no qualms exploring the innermost parts of his psyche, baring it all for the reader. The book explores the intersection of homosexuality, race, and religion very well, and the entire story was an eye-opening experience. In fact, his book would be a great resource for those who are looking to learn more about the Mormon way of life.
However, whilst the story was touching and had a strong sense of authenticity, it did get confusing at times. Ashton tells his story in a series of mini scenes in no particular chronological order, instead of using a linear narrative. In other words, during the reading experience, the reader is able to understand that the time period has changed, but it gets confusing because Ashton sometimes refers to certain issues or things that will only be explained later.
Nonetheless, the story flowed rather well, and I completed the book in a single sitting. Ashton has an ability to provide the reader with an immersive experience through his writing, and he draws one in fully. As for formatting, I would only like to suggest that line breaks be added at the end of each paragraph to facilitate reading flow. There are also a couple of punctuation errors and minor grammar errors, so I would recommend that the book undergo another round of editing.
Therefore, I rate Kerry Ashton’s Saint Unashamed: A Gay Mormon’s Life 3 out of 4 stars. Personally, I feel the need to have more literature discussing such sensitive issues, and I would recommend this book to those in the LGBT community. Nonetheless, no matter one’s sexuality, this is a book that would be a great resource for those seeking to understand the intricacies of how our society views race, religion, sexuality, as well as the social hierarchy that exists in its intersections. For those who are uncomfortable, please note that there are a couple of explicit scenes and mentions of abuse.
SAINT UNSHAMED: A Gay Mormon's Life
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