Mormon comedy in Arizona

Mormon comedy in Arizona

Astrid Duffy

Now that Valentine’s Day is over, perhaps it is time for a novel that focuses less on falling in love and more on ways to remove you from that loveless, ordinary relationship. UA alumnus Phil Villarreal bases his novel, “”Stormin’ Mormon,”” on such an idea, but gives it a funny and religious twist.

When smart, sassy student Jerusha is assigned to interview sports radio talk show host, Saul, for a media arts class, there is an unmistakable chemistry between them. Both are insecure in long-term relationships, however, with nice but uninteresting people; Jerusha with the computer-obsessed Jared, and Saul with the perky but boring Shannon.

Together, they form a plan to drive their significant others away without having to go through the awkwardness of simply breaking up. The plan is this: Pretend to convert to Mormonism and then become so totally Mormon that their lovers will have no choice but to leave.

“”Stormin’ Mormon””
Phil Villareal ð- Publish America
List price $20
3 stars

For Jerusha, this is not too hard as she was raised Mormon and knows which buttons to push to seem like a religious nut. For Saul, it is more difficult. Not only does he have to swap curse words for “”fudge”” and “”flip,”” but also he has to give up coffee, sex and the lifestyle of casual sinning that he is accustomed to. While the plan, dubbed “”Stormin’ Mormon”” by Saul, may seem rather too offensive to be funny, Villarreal manages to balance his characters’ opinions of Mormons as annoying with a clear understanding of Mormon principles so that the novel remains fun and humorous rather than sinking into a pit of mean-spirited Mormon bashing, as the plan might suggest.

Also fun is the fact that the novel is set on the UA campus so when the characters rendezvous at O’Malley’s or that cute bagel shop north of campus, it is extremely easy to picture them, and rather comforting to hear our hometown (at least for a few years) made immortal in ink.

“”Stormin’ Mormon”” is an easy-to-read romantic comedy with an unusually religious twist, and would be a good book to take on spring break in case of homesickness.