Friday, May 23, 2014

Literary Tourism - Utah

I have a little more time on my hands these days, so I've decided to return to my literary journey through the states.  I decided that the easiest way to find a book on Utah is to read one while I'm living here.

Because Utah is stereotypically Mormon, I actually refined my criteria for this project a little bit more.  I wanted a book that was nationally published.  (There are a lot of small publishers in Utah.)  I also didn't want a book about crossing the plains (strictly speaking not Utah) or polygamy (not an accurate representation of typical Utah life.)  It took some searching but I found one.

Missing in Action by Dean Hughes

During World War II, Jay's dad goes missing in the Pacific and his mom decides to move him from Salt Lake City to her hometown of Delta, Utah.  Delta is a small desert town - very typical of small Utah towns.  The community is mostly LDS, but Jay doesn't quite fit in.  His mom is not practicing and Jay is part Navajo.  A short distance away is a Japanese Interment Camp, and Jay gets to know Ken one of the prisoners who works for his grandfather.

Here we learn that Utah housed a lot of Japanese during the war -  a little known and rather embarrassing fact.  It also depicted the barren landscape and respectfully touched upon Mormon culture from the perspective of one who was not fully immersed in the religion.  So, the book did well for my purposes.

Missing in Action was missing action.  Honestly, I didn't finish the story.  Jay played baseball and talked to people and that's about it.      

No comments: