The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance

( 74 )

Overview

"A wickedly funny debut. Baker is both self-absorbed and generous, whip-smart and naïve; she apologizes for none of it."
-People

It's lonely being a Mormon in New York City. Every year, Elna Baker attends the New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance. This year, her Queen Bee costume (which involves a funnel stinger stuck to her butt) isn't attracting the attention she'd anticipated. So once again, Elna finds herself alone, standing at ...

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Overview

"A wickedly funny debut. Baker is both self-absorbed and generous, whip-smart and naïve; she apologizes for none of it."
-People

It's lonely being a Mormon in New York City. Every year, Elna Baker attends the New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance. This year, her Queen Bee costume (which involves a funnel stinger stuck to her butt) isn't attracting the attention she'd anticipated. So once again, Elna finds herself alone, standing at the punch bowl, stocking up on Oreos, a virgin in a room full of thirty-year-old virgins doing the Funky Chicken. But loneliness is nothing compared to what Elna feels when she loses eighty pounds, finds herself suddenly beautiful...and in love with an atheist.

Brazenly honest, The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance is Elna Baker's hilarious and heartfelt chronicle of her attempt to find love in a city full of strangers and see if she can steer clear of temptation and just get by on God.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

When Elna Baker decided to go to NYU rather than Brigham Young, her devout LDS parents might have wondered whether their daughter was taking a giant step toward perdition. They need not have worried: A single Mormon in Manhattan is the loneliest number of all. Baker's hilarious memories of being a stranded single sober virgin in a roomful of single sober virgins at a chaperoned church dance cap a book full of outrageous experiences. Who can resist her story of making out with Joaquin Phoenix's chef in Ben Affleck's bachelor pad? Now in paperback.

Kirkus Reviews
Debut memoir from a 20-something Mormon stand-up comedian. Baker was once just a funny fat girl weighing in at nearly 250 pounds. Then she rapidly shed the pounds ("In five and a half months I lost eighty pounds, which is the equivalent of pooping out a fourth grader") and emerged as a slim beauty, still funny and ready for romance-up to a point. The author writes that she was ready for some kind of amorous encounter, but as a practicing LDS believer, sex before marriage is prohibited-as is drinking. "Mormons are known for saying no," she writes. "No sex, no drugs, no alcohol and no caffeine. NO." So she relates, in unrelenting cuteness, her romantic adventures-not having sex with lots of dreamy guys, but kissing and telling all. For New York Mormon singles events, Baker concocted some truly unfortunate costumes, including a fortune cookie that got crushed and looked like a certain part of the female anatomy. She discusses her situation with The Almighty (a largely one-way discussion) and her struggles to suppress her sexuality while defending her spirituality: "I thought, he only wants to see me naked because I lost weight and I look more attractive now. And this only happened because I prayed and asked God for a miracle. Misusing my new body would be like taking a gift from God and defiling it . . . Is it right to suppress my sexuality? Or do religious choices just make me happy because I was trained to feel this way?" For the most part, Baker spins a witty girly-girl story, a romantic caper for ladies about trying to find a job, a boyfriend and, ultimately, herself. A sexy, lubricious outing by a formerly zaftig comic.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780452296497
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 399,860
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Elna Baker

ELNA BAKER is a Mormon stand-up comedian and writer. She has performed in many of New York City’s hottest venues, including Caroline’s and the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre, as well as on NPR’s This American Life, and received grants for her work from Yaddo and Breadloaf. Baker lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 74 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 75 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2009

    Elna does not speak for all Mormons

    I am Mormon and attended the same singles ward in Manhattan as Elna. I would like to point out that Elna is a Mormon in name only. Even five years ago, when I knew Elna, it was clear the only reason she was attending church (or her book title's dance) was to glean interesting experiences for her comedy routine. As far as I could tell, Elna had given up most of her Mormon religious beliefs and was living a lifestyle that was far from an active Mormon. I think this is relevant because non-Mormons will read this book and think that it's an accurate portrayal of a single Mormon woman. In reality, her experience is not representative of a single Mormon woman living in New York City who is actually a believer and trying to live her religion. I do not know of one single, active Mormon woman who would approve of Elna being her spokesperson.

    Elna wants to be unique and interesting, and the fact that she's Mormon is the most interesting thing about her. Elna is not the only single Mormon woman to attend NYU, nor is she the only one pursuing comedy in New York City. There are many Mormon women doing interesting things while still living their faith and without casting it in a distorted, disparaging light.

    7 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing and Honest

    So I am a Mormon and I loved this book. It is rare to hear honest discussions about faith. Elna, armed with humor made faith fun and real. People in the Mormon faith rarely have open dialogue about what they feel and believe. We all assume we believe the same things because after all we are Mormon. I also found this book to be an interesting insight into a woman's sexuality. Rarely do we read such an open account of how a Mormon woman feels about sex. For young Mormons sex is such a mystery it seems almost unreal and magical, like it will be some mystical experience. In reading Elna I was reminded of my views of sexuality before I had sexlife. It was nostalgic, sex is good but looking forward to sex is even better, and no one is better at looking forward to sex with absolutely no idea what it will really be like then Young Adult Mormons.

    Great Job Elna!!

    Keep living the Mormon lifestyle so we can have more of these stories and insights!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 15, 2009

    Ignore the haters

    I'm Mormon and I loved this book. And no, I don't feel like anything in the book painted Elna or Mormons as "bad." It was just a realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a normal person and a Mormon. (Spoiler alert: It's hard.)

    There are many kinds of Mormon people out there, including (unfortunately) people like "anonymous" who want to claim we're all the same, and anyone who isn't the same obviously isn't really Mormon. Too bad for her, and too bad she thinks she can interpret the religious feelings of someone she went to church with for awhile.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2010

    Very interesting book, but Mormons -- be warned!

    I was in a pretty bad mood when I turned a corner in Barnes and Nobles and just happened upon this book. The title alone was highly intriguing to me, and as I am a Mormon, I grabbed it and began to read.

    First of all, the book is absolutely hilarious. It was precisely what I needed to read. The experiences that this girl has had as a single woman in New York City, from a Mormon perspective, were so funny, and much of what she described I could relate to as far as Mormon Culture goes. If you want to buy a book that lets you peek into the weird subculture that is mormonism, this is the book to buy.

    Unfortunately, this is also a coming-of-age book, and her coming-of-age is late (because many Mormons are so behind their peers because of their innocence and lack of exposure to the real world). The main character is between two worlds -- the very confined, closed off world of her religion, and the extremely open and no-holds-barred world of New York, and she has to make a choice. This is not a book her mother would enjoy reading, for sure -- and as I'm probably her mother's age, I read with that perspective and that disappointment.

    Having said this, I looked up her stand-up comedy on YouTube, and she is SO FUNNY. This girl is talented. I really enjoyed the book, and if I could extract myself from MY mormon experience, I would understand her feelings. Everything that she writes about is accurate about the religion and her experience, and it honestly is THAT funny and THAT true to life. I just think that any Mormons out there who read this may not enjoy it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    one of the best books i've ever read

    elna baker is awesome in this book as she recounts growing up in NYC while being a Mormon. she struggles with issues like sex, body image, drinking, and men. she makes you laugh hysterically, want to cry, and learn to apprecciate yourself. she's an excellent role mode for young people everywhere and i highly recommend this book. r y,

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great discussion book but no discussion questions

    This is just such a fun book. So many topics and themes to discuss. I looked everywhere for good discussion questions.
    Lots of reviews but not a one guide.
    This is what I came up with.
    1. What do you think of her disclaimer and dedication to her parents?
    2. What did you think about her charts peppered throughout? Did you feel her illustrations helped you understand her life?
    3. What was the biggest influence on Elna's losing weight?
    4. How would the story of her life in New York been different if she had not become thin? Is her success connected to weight loss?
    5. Like Pocahontas or Mr. Spock or Ariel the Mermaid, Elna Baker's caught between two incompatible worlds. She loves them both so fully, do you think that someday she'll have to choose one over the other"***
    6. Is this just a another comic effect book on how to find a guy in 10 days? What makes it different? the same?
    7. How much do you think is for a comedy put on? Is it a good devise to tell this story?
    8. Thinking of her childhood,was her just say 'Yes' scheme believable?
    9. Will she marry a Mormon? What do you think the church is thinking behind closed doors?
    10. Did the title catch your attention? Did it live up to your expectations?

    **I used this line from a reviewer on B&N to help form the question.

    Hope this helps some of you book reviewers. This is definately a good book to read and enjoy in the long summer .

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2009

    so good I peed

    Yes so true. I didn't think it would be so funny.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Light Hearted Read

    Working in a bookstore, I have the opportunity to read through ALL kinds of new authors. Ms. Baker is quirky, hilariously funny, and at times even heroic. This read took me just an evening to get through, and now several months later, I still find myself chuckling at some of the outrageous stunts she recalled in this book. She offers a "real person" point of view on touchy subjects like religion, sex before marriage, weight loss, and the ever bleak singles scene. With her sense of humor, she also teaches that regardless of your religous background, sex, or age: you have to laugh at yourself! Her humility is admirable, and her writing style is well manicured and quick to entertain. I look forward to the next book, as I highly reccomend this read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    a Must Read for any Mormon YSA

    This book is simply HILARIOUS if you are familiar with the Mormon culture. Definitely pick it up. it's a quick read and will renew your sense of humor (if not your faith). :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2010

    Great read!

    You become best friends with author as you experience everything with her. This book is full of comedy, tragedy, and situations you feel like you've experienced as well. I truly enjoyed it. It was inspirational, uplifting, and heart wrenching all at the same time. I'm so happy I bought this book. Great job Elna! Hope you write more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2013

    Honest, refreshing

    I love this girl.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Cute, funny

    I bought this book because I myself have been raised mormon. At 24 married (not in the temple) with 2 young boys I find myself questioning the ways in which I was taught. After struggling alone with the decision for almost a year, I found this book. Honestly I think I thought "if I read this ill know what to do. Well, that is not true and I should hapve known. Just like Elna I will have to make this choice myself with the help of no one. What this book did help me understand was that i'm not the only Mormon out there that's confused. Also im not the only mormon out there brave enough and smart enough to question my faith. How do you really know its true unless you take a step back and question it?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 20, 2011

    Loved it

    Shes pretty fun:) an overall good read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2010

    Great book - highly recommend

    This book was really good and relatable! I loved her story and it was encouraging and exciting to read all the way through. Definitely check this book out!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 8, 2010

    Disappointing

    I REALLY wanted to like this book. After reading the first ten or fifteen pages, I had high hopes that I was going to be laughing throughout the book. Unfortunately, the personal stories that comprised of this book were very random, hard to follow, and somewhat annoying. I never felt like I even came close to knowing and understanding the various characters. Overall, a few standout funny lines but a poorly organized and sparatic story

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2010

    Anyone person who has struggled with their religion at any time in their life will love this book. Those who haven't struggled, will love this book too.

    Baker writes about her life and her struggle with being a religious person in New York. The book is lighthearted and very funny. She goes through life trying to figure out if her religion is true and whether or not it is preventing her from living a "normal" life. Any religious or non-religious person will be able to relate to the struggles and situations Baker goes through especially women. I love this book and it was a quick read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Excellant

    Witty, Funny, Enlightening! Could not put the book down. The ending took me completely by surprise. This book goes proudly to my "Favorite Book Shelf".

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  • Posted January 9, 2010

    Lots of Laughs

    Elna is such an enjoyable writing. Kudos to this book, I was walking in B&N at the Gateway in SLC when I came across it. I loved it! Some things I wish were different in the book but since it's her life story you just take it as is, and it's real.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2009

    Very funny book!

    The writing isn't the best but the story is thought-provoking and hilarious at the same time. A pleasant read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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