Official Review: SAINT UNSHAMED: A Gay Mormon's Life

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gen_g
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Official Review: SAINT UNSHAMED: A Gay Mormon's Life

Post by gen_g » 17 Nov 2018, 11:02

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "SAINT UNSHAMED: A Gay Mormon's Life" by Kerry Ashton.]
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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.

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SAINT UNSHAMED: A Gay Mormon's Life
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Bianka Walter
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Post by Bianka Walter » 18 Nov 2018, 03:06

I also find it difficult to read about intolerance. I don't quite know what's going on with the world where people think everyone has to be the same. Huge eyeroll. I'm glad the author finally accepted himself, but I hate that it took so much of his life to get him to that point.
Loved your review, as always.
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Post by gen_g » 18 Nov 2018, 03:49

Bianka Walter wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 03:06
I also find it difficult to read about intolerance. I don't quite know what's going on with the world where people think everyone has to be the same. Huge eyeroll. I'm glad the author finally accepted himself, but I hate that it took so much of his life to get him to that point.
Loved your review, as always.
I agree! I felt sad that the people around him were not able to give him the support that he needed. Also, thank you for leaving a comment as always! :D

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Post by Rosemary Khathibe » 18 Nov 2018, 04:24

I would like to know how Ashton discovered his sexual orientation. And I also believe this book will answer some of the questions that always run in my head everytime I hear someone is homosexual. Enchanting review!

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Post by gen_g » 18 Nov 2018, 05:02

Rosemary Khathibe wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 04:24
I would like to know how Ashton discovered his sexual orientation. And I also believe this book will answer some of the questions that always run in my head everytime I hear someone is homosexual. Enchanting review!
Ashton slowly grew to realise that he was not attracted romantically or sexually to females, so his journey started there. Thanks for the comment, I hope that you will enjoy the book! (:

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Post by inaramid » 18 Nov 2018, 05:17

I must confess that what little I know about Mormonism/LDS, I learned from the musical-satire, The Book of Mormons. Homosexuality was portrayed as something that's acceptable for as long as you don't act upon it. I've been looking forward to a review of this book; I'm happy that you got to do it. The narrative not being linear could be a problem. I do hope the author releases a future edition with all your recommendations implemented. Cliche as this may sound, thanks for the thought-provoking review.

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Post by gen_g » 18 Nov 2018, 10:23

inaramid wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 05:17
I must confess that what little I know about Mormonism/LDS, I learned from the musical-satire, The Book of Mormons. Homosexuality was portrayed as something that's acceptable for as long as you don't act upon it. I've been looking forward to a review of this book; I'm happy that you got to do it. The narrative not being linear could be a problem. I do hope the author releases a future edition with all your recommendations implemented. Cliche as this may sound, thanks for the thought-provoking review.
I have to admit, I also did not know much about Mormonism/LDS prior to picking up this book. However, I do think that Ashton did a great job easing the unfamiliar reader into a better understanding of the Mormon way of living through the book, which I was grateful for. I'm also glad that I got a chance to review this book, and I certainly enjoyed reading it! Thank you for your lovely comments, inaramid. :)

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Post by Cotwani » 18 Nov 2018, 12:44

Sounds like an intense read. Thanks for the insightful review!
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Post by Kajori50 » 18 Nov 2018, 13:01

People should be given the freedom to be themselves without any fear. That is why I think intolerance should not be tolerated.
This book seems to be an interesting one. I am especially interested to know more about Mormonism.

Thank you for the insightful review.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Nov 2018, 16:26

Religion is supposed to be about love and acceptance, consistent with following a God who loves without condition. But will that ever fully happen in this imperfect world? I like the word "unshamed." I do know that Mormons call themselves "saints."

A very interesting review!

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Post by Ginnamassa19 » 18 Nov 2018, 21:44

Thank you for this great review! :D I think books like these are so important to help us understand and empathise with people who have historically been discriminated against just for being different-- I'm definitely putting this on my to-read list :)

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Post by gen_g » 18 Nov 2018, 21:47

Cotwani wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 12:44
Sounds like an intense read. Thanks for the insightful review!
Thanks for stopping by!

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Post by gen_g » 18 Nov 2018, 22:28

Kajori50 wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 13:01
People should be given the freedom to be themselves without any fear. That is why I think intolerance should not be tolerated.
This book seems to be an interesting one. I am especially interested to know more about Mormonism.

Thank you for the insightful review.
I hope that you will enjoy the book if you pick it up! It was really an eye-opening experience. Thanks for stopping by.

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Post by gen_g » 18 Nov 2018, 22:29

Miriam Molina wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 16:26
Religion is supposed to be about love and acceptance, consistent with following a God who loves without condition. But will that ever fully happen in this imperfect world? I like the word "unshamed." I do know that Mormons call themselves "saints."

A very interesting review!
It's quite hard for that to happen in this world, isn't it? I do hope that we are slowly heading there, though. Thank you for your comments as always, Miriam!

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Post by gen_g » 18 Nov 2018, 22:31

Ginnamassa19 wrote: ↑
18 Nov 2018, 21:44
Thank you for this great review! :D I think books like these are so important to help us understand and empathise with people who have historically been discriminated against just for being different-- I'm definitely putting this on my to-read list :)
I totally agree! The book helps us to step into the shoes of others, so hopefully that one will be able to understand and realise that one shouldn't judge others just because they think differently. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it!

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