A Lost Argument
Author: Therese Doucet
Published: September 3, 2011
Genre: contemporary fiction
Paperback: 260 pages
Source: received from the author
My Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): The summer after her freshman year at all-Mormon Brigham Young University, Marguerite Farnsworth falls in love with philosophy by way of falling in love with an atheist philosophy student. Her search for Truth (with a capital T), God, the meaning of life, and a boyfriend leads her away from religious belief, but along the way she learns there are things even atheists can have faith in.
My Thoughts: Therese Doucet writes an interesting look at a young woman, raised in the Mormon faith, who goes off to college and struggles with her spirituality. Raised in such a strict faith and attending Brigham Young University, founded by the Mormon church, Marguerite struggles with faith, God, and morals while trying to find herself. Marguerite is a smart girl, pushing herself in her studies and trying to learn as much about philospohy and religion as she can. The novel takes place over the course of a few years, where we start at the end of Marguerite's freshman year and following her through to her starting her PhD. Over the course of the novel, Marguerite encounters a slew of people, some trying to help her stay strong in her Mormon faith, some encouraging her to take a step back in order to see if she truly agrees with her religion, and other wanting her to completely abandon faith. All of these people affect Marguerite in different ways and some affect her more than others.
I felt like Marguerite was a likeable character but she seemed melodramatic at times. There were times when she seemed to be going through a funk and her reaction was wanting to end her life. I mean, everyone goes through funks, but I don't think most of us contemplate suicide. Marguerite was very relatable and I found myself identifying with her at times. While I'm not, nor have I ever been, a part of the Mormon faith, I remember struggling with my own faith when I went to college. I think that everyone struggles with the concept of faith and God during their late teens/early twenties and I haven't read any piece of literature that details so clearly the struggle that many people go through quite like Doucet does in this novel.
My one negative about this book is that Marguerite is so introverted that as she deals with her struggles, she seems to repeat herself in her thoughts. I felt like I was rereading a previous chapter at times. It was just a little too much at times. Also, her constant longing for a boyfriend got to be exhausting. I had several friends in high school who belonged to the Mormon church and I understand the strong push to marry, especially to another Mormon. I can understand how Marguerite felt like she was alone and would she ever find her soul mate, but it just got to be too much. I have also felt the same way as Marguertie, feeling like everyone was paired off except for me, but I never dwelled on it quite as much. I wanted to scream at her, "Get a grip! Live your life and enjoy it instead of worrying about finding a man!"
If you have ever struggled with your faith, then I would definitely recommend this book. It highlights so well the struggles that people go through when trying to discover their spirituality, whether it was with a specific religion or not.