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Book review: 'Of the World' is the story of young Mormon boy coming of age in the '60s

Published: Thursday, July 2 2015 12:25 p.m. MDT

Max Zimmer is the author of Max Zimmer is the author of "If Where You're Going Isn't Home" series, including "Journey" and "Of the World." (Provided by Max Zimmer)

"OF THE WORLD: If Where You're Going Isn't Home, Book 2," by Max Zimmer, $17.95, 495 pages (f)

Max Zimmer's new book, titled "Of the World, Book 2," is the second book in his "If Where You're Going Isn't Home" trilogy about a young Mormon boy named Shake Tauffler who has a dream to play jazz trumpet and is growing up in Bountiful in the '60s.

In "Of the World," Shake is coming to terms with his love for jazz music and the increasing conflict this creates with his parents and church leaders. While struggling to live as he has been taught, Shake is finding himself pulled in a direction that seems contrary to his understanding of LDS Church teachings.

As Shake gains new freedom by obtaining his driver's license and starting a band, he and his friends begin to explore the night life in Salt Lake and the surrounding communities. In this world, Shake comes face to face with lifestyles that are not in tune with his church teachings.

"Of the World" is the second book in the "If Where You're Going Isn't Home" trilogy by Max Zimmer. (Provided by Max Zimmer)

Shake continues to perform his church duties while looking for ways to experience more of the dark world around him. This continues to cause conflict with his parents and raise questions with his church leaders.

After graduating from high school, Shake joins the Army and begins to experience even more of the world outside of his Utah home. He also meets the sister of one of his Army buddies and falls in love for the first time. However, Shake is preparing to serve a church mission after he completes his Army training so he begins to look for ways to escape this relationship.

At the heart of this novel is Zimmer's view of the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding blacks and race. Shake's heroes are black jazz musicians, and his new-found love, Cissy, is African-American.

Zimmer's writing is rich and full of detail. Zimmer, who was raised in Utah and now lives in New Jersey, has an incredible talent for making a reader feel a part of his stories.

However, his characters seem to lack the spirituality that would be expected from those so dedicated to their religion. Shake and the other Mormons described in this book are simply doing what they see as their duty. Their commitment is more worldly than spiritual.

This book contains a large amount of crude language and details of sexual acts. It also contains descriptions of some sacred ordinances performed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

If you go ...

What: Max Zimmer book events

When: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 12:30 p.m.

Where: Golden Years Senior Activity Center, 726 S. 100 East, Bountiful

Web: maxzimmer.com

Also ...

When: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 7-9 p.m.

Where: First Unitarian Church, Eliot Hall, 569 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City

Also ..

When: Thursday, Oct. 24, 7-9 p.m.

Where: Bountiful Music Recital Hall, 365 N. Main St., Bountiful

Also ..

When: Friday, Oct. 25, 7-9 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.

Steve Larson is one of the founders of Information Alliance, a Utah-based data collection company. He currently serves as vice president of sales. Steve spends his free time writing and practicing photography. He also enjoys spending time outdoors.

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