Flirt to deconvert: Therese Doucet’s “A Lost Argument”

Marguerite has a problem. She loves the structure and purpose that Mormonism provides, and — like every good BYU co-ed — she’s dying to land a man. Unfortunately, instead of being a perky blonde out of a shampoo commercial, she’s a shy, nerdy bookworm — and hence practically invisible to BYU guys. When she spends a Summer term back home in Arizona, all it takes is one fun guy with the body of a Greek god and a handful of Philosophy 101 to start Marguerite on a journey of contemplation that eventually melts her Mormonism away.

Problem solved? Not exactly…

Therese Doucet’s A Lost Argument is a realistic and heartfelt portrait of the ups and downs of life and love for young people who don’t fit the perfect Mormon mold. It’s also an interesting study in what happens when you take intelligent girls and train them that their worth is entirely determined by their ability to land and please a man. Even when you lose your religion, these sorts of ingrained lessons don’t automatically disappear with it.

A Lost Argument is published by Strange Violin Editions and available through Smashwords and Amazon.

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10 Comments

  1. 1
    Alan says:

    Here’s her blog and the independent press she’s started, which was born just this month.

    Strange Violin Editions will be publishing:

    …fiction and nonfiction relating in some way to Mormonism. We are interested in books by current and former Mormons as well as those whove never been Mormons but write on Mormonism-related topics. Mormonism need not be a direct or central theme, but may play a part in the setting or a major characters background, or even merely play an oblique role in shaping the world of the narrative (as in novels like Stephenie Meyers Twilight series or science fiction by Orson Scott Card). Work we publish may come from a variety of perspectives: atheist, agnostic, unorthodox, questioning, or faithful. The most important qualities we look for are intelligent writing, the ability to engage a readers interest through a well-structured narrative, and appealing prose.

    Fiction may be in any genre or literary. We are open to works that portray moral ambiguity, include graphic content (i.e., books that might be rated R or NC-17″ if they were movies), or depict same-sex (GLBT) relationships, characters, and scenes. Our catalogue will attempt to note where books include such content.

    For nonfiction, we are most interested in narrative nonfiction, humor, essays, and accessible philosophy and theology.

    Now see, THAT is what I’d call a MORMON publisher. There’s very little boundary maintenance.

    Here’s an excerpt from Doucet’s blog:

    There are a lot of very talented people out there writing about their experiences in and out of the Church, but its hard to find a publisher because Mormons, let alone ex/post/former/alumni Mormons, are something of a niche audience.

    If youre writing faith-affirming stuff, theres always the chance of getting picked up by one of the handful of Mormon publishers: Deseret, Covenant, or even brave little Zarahemla Books (go them!) And every now and then you get the rare breakout book that catches the attention of mainstream publishers, like Elna Bakers New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance, or Martha Becks Leaving the Saints. But for the most part, ex/post/former/alumni Mormon writers are on their own.

    If I started my own press, though (I thought), I could maybe do my own little part towards finally giving that niche audience a home for those writers books.

    I’m definitely a fan of the self-publishing phenomenon, and then networking around a theme for a small press. I can’t imagine how great it must feel to have one’s own successful small press (although of course Doucet is just beginning). Sure, these little presses come and go everyday, but I think Doucet has potentially tapped into a longstanding market.

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  2. 2
    wry catcher says:

    Thanks for the review and link — I’ve just kindled it and will be reading it soon! :-)

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  3. 3
    Therese says:

    Chanson – thanks, I hugely appreciate the review!

    FYI, the book is also available at Barnes & Noble online, and on Nook and the iBookstore. And please excuse the self-promotion, but I’m doing a free book giveaway on Goodreads.com starting tomorrow and lasting through October 23 …

    Alan – Thanks! I am pretty excited about the press. Please send any works-in-progress or fellow writers my way when they’re ready! (I read the beginning of your book a while back by the and am looking forward to buying a copy next time I’m emptying my Amazon cart … )

    wry catcher – hope you enjoy it!

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  4. 4
    Therese says:

    A Facebook friend just alerted me to the following book by Nicole Hardy, forthcoming in Winter 2013. http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2011/06/22/local-author-meets-publishing-success Another former Mormon author hits the big time! Check out that Modern Love column, too – it’s pretty interesting!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/fashion/09Modern.html

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  5. 5
    Therese says:

    Oh, and with the foregoing comment, I did not mean to imply that I, too, was hitting the big time. I am hitting the small time. But we all have to start somewhere!

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  6. 6
    simplysarah says:

    Sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out!

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  7. 7

    [...] It turns out Therese isn’t the only one with a new book out — there’s also Raptor Jesus (not to be confused with Dino Jesus), and a historical [...]

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  9. 9

    [...] Plaza blog (which describes itself as “A Community for Anyone Interested in Mormonism.” Check it out! Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in [...]

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  10. 10

    [...] difficult to say who this book would be best for. A Lost Argument had an ever-so-brief review at Main Street Plaza, which definitely represents the ex-Mormon side of the Mormon blogging world. It also was mentioned [...]

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