Judith Freeman: The Latter Days
Memoir may be a common literary form, and around these parts, it may seem that there’s a new memoir every day or so about growing up in—and often alienation from—the LDS Church. But there’s a uniquely contemplative quality to Judith Freeman’s The Latter Days, which chronicles a life in a 1950s/1960s Utah Mormon family that is both typical and fascinatingly specific.
Freeman focuses most of her attention on her years spent growing up in Ogden in a family of eight children, living the kind of life that most Mormon children of that era might recognize: learning the lessons of the church, navigating through a crowded house, trying to understand parents who were often remote and unknowable. Yet she also addresses distinctive tragedies that shaped her young life, including the death from cancer of her oldest brother, and giving birth as a newly married teenager to a child with a serious heart defect.
While Freeman spends time explaining tenets and practices of the church for uninitiated readers, The Latter Days is more than just a chronicle of growing up Mormon. It is instead a chronicle of growing away from being Mormon, requiring an understanding of how all-encompassing an identity that was before she began to drift away from belief in that faith, both as a rebellious teen and through the crises in her marriage. As such, there’s a mournful quality to the writing, even as Freeman works through the various separations in her life—from the church, from Utah, and eventually from her husband—toward understanding the forces that shaped her. (Scott Renshaw)
Judith Freeman: The Latter Days @ The King’s English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East, 801-485-9100, June 28, 7 p.m., free. KingsEnglish.com