Sunday, 29 November 2009

Joseph Smith - Book of Mormon

The way in which we sometimes come across certain books can be a mystery. I’ve picked up leftovers from trains; found some in coffee shops (I’m pretty sure they were left behind and didn’t belong to the shop;) Discovered ones under Mum’s bed; searched them out in obscure book shops and received them as gifts from estranged relatives. But very rarely do people come to my door and simply give me one - a book that is.

It was a Friday afternoon and I’m sure I was supposed to be doing something important somewhere else - working for instance - but for some reason I found myself at my computer drinking coffee. The doorbell rang. Now I’m not usually at home and wouldn’t normally have answered the door, but I must have been bored and feeling semi-adventurous so I went for it. Standing on the porch were two excellently dressed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They gave me the usual spiel about God but I was more interested in the book they were offering - for free. I’m not going to say no to a free book am I?

I was surprised to find that The Book of Mormon reads like a story recounting the ancient history of the founding fathers of the religion and there battles and struggles. The story was closer to Troy than the The Bible. The amount of blood shed over the 531 pages (I am aware there are more pages, but I’m not counting an index as part of the story) of the text makes Kill Bill look like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It's violent to the point where so many people are killed that even the writer could not express the destruction numerically.

I was expecting to find a lot of preaching about believing in the Lord to be saved, how the Lord is the only way to salvation, or how we will all die if we don’t do EXACTLY what the Lord says. Okay, it does that last one a lot. Several people die just because the followers of Lord wish it and the Mormons seem to believe God has a take-no-prisoners approach to being omnipotent.

The highlights of this book for me were the characters. To name a few, ‘the great warrior Moroni, who slew many Lamanites with the sword’ and Helaman and his two-thousand strong seemingly invincible army.

If I’m going to mention weaknesses, it is the fact that the narrative constantly adds ‘All these things are written and they are true’ on the end of several passages. It makes the book feel like an unconvincing liar; a child caught stealing - ‘It wasn’t me, it was him.’

As far as recommendations go, it’s hard to recommend it to any specific group of people (other than Mormons but that’s too obvious.) If you are looking to branch out, and I mean way out, on the type of stuff you read then the book of Mormon is definitely for you.

The Book of Mormon was published and translated by Joseph Smith in 1830. RRP Free from your local door-to-door Mormon.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Cy Flood - Sun, Sea and Sex: True Confessions of a Holiday Rep

I’m going to start with a book I found at a service station. I bought it because of a course-orientated need to read autobiographies and that is exactly what I got. Cy Flood takes us through his ‘misadventures’ across several popular holiday destinations including Ibiza, Tenerife and Benidorm.

This will sound sad coming from a man, but the word ‘sex’ in the title is horribly misleading. It’s only referred to in terms of which reps had the most action and in all cases, said ‘action‘ is never fully described in terms of a ‘confession.’ I’m not complaining about the lack of sexy times, but just the fact that the title is incorrect. The blurb is also a work of fiction. Mr Flood spends most of the time talking about other people more than his own personal experiences, while the back cover promises: ‘He wanted to party like crazy, booze like there was no tomorrow and pull like it was going out of fashion! He got just what he bargained for plus much, much more!’ If he did, he certainly did not write about it here. He does crash his car whilst under the influence, but that’s not exactly the most shining example of drunken fun.

My next problem is to do with the general way in which the book is written. There are so many horrendous punctuation, grammar and even spelling issues that are so bad, it looks like the writer mashed the keyboard in blind hope the letters would come out in the right order.

In regards to content, I’m surprised that Mr Flood managed to write 288 pages about nothing at all. The ‘Holiday Rep’ in the title could be replaced with ‘Landscape Admirer’ and then I could almost accept the drab landscape descriptions. In fact, lets come up with a new title, one that’s actually correct: ‘Sun, Hotels and Airports: What I Saw in Ten Years of Being a Holiday Rep.’ There. Much better.

Right, that’s the unpleasant stuff out of the way let’s talk about the good bits. I can give credit where credit is due. The opening chapter, starring one man, his wife and a toilet brush, was actually entertaining. His acknowledgements in the front were good and he does say that the majority of the book came ‘straight from the diary as they were written,’ but I find this a poor excuse for lazy editing.

I can’t bring myself to recommend this book to anyone except aspiring writers. It gave me inspiration and belief that one day, I may actually be able to make it in the writing industry.

Sun, Sea and Sex: True Confessions of a Holiday Rep by Cy Flood was published by John Blake Publishing in 2004. RRP £6.99 (Paperback)

Friday, 20 November 2009


Welcome to This is My Face. Here you will find my thoughts and opinions on a selection of literature, both new, old and obscure, as well as a variety of different versions of my face. Everything in the following posts are reactions. My aim is to entertain as well as inform and I hope that you guys will find my posts enjoyable. Any feedback is welcome and appreciated as well as praise or, if I really upset you, disdain. Take this journal for what it is: a reaction.