“The Reluctant Blogger” by Ryan Rapier is an interesting novel about a young Mormon father who loses his wife and has to raise his children on his own.
Todd Landry recently lost his wife to a brain aneurysm. Because it was completely out of the blue, Todd was not prepared for the aftermath. Todd is overwhelmed with his new responsibilities and barely makes it through the day.
To help him cope with the pain, Todd sees a therapist who encourages him to write a series of blog posts about his experiences as a single parent — the blog posts are included in the book.
To help him get back into the singles scene, Todd’s best friend invites him to a single adult dance of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the dance, Todd meets a woman named Emily. He is reluctant to start dating again, but he wants to get to know Emily.
Set in Arizona, “The Reluctant Blogger” is a predictable book. Despite this, Rapier is able to include several subplots in the book that are well-written and informative.
Not only does Todd have to deal with the death of his wife, he has to deal with a rebellious teenager, a gay best friend who comes out of the closet, an overbearing father and the death of his mother. Rapier writes with deep emotion and enlightening detail about each situation.
One of the best moments in the book is when Todd has a heart-to-heart talk with his 13-year-old daughter Alex. Rapier describes a distraught young woman who is trying to understand why her father is dating again. This brief scene is a powerful lesson for all those who are dealing with loss.
“The Reluctant Blogger” is a quick read. It is stereotypical of LDS culture, but it is respectful when difficult topics are brought up.
There is no inappropriate language or sexual innuendo in the book. The struggles of Todd's gay friend in the LDS Church are described in detail.
If you go ...
What: Ryan Rapier book signing
When: Friday, Aug. 30, 7-9 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
When: Saturday, Aug. 31, noon-3 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, McIntyre Center, 1104 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City
When: Monday, Sept. 2, 7-9 p.m.
Where: Weller Book Works, 607 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City
When: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Eborn Books, 245 S. Main St., Salt Lake City
When: Saturday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Where: Barnes and Noble, Red Cliffs Mall, 1720 E. Red Cliffs Drive, St. George
Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's degree in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.