Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Harsh Truth & Other Updates

I read a review of ABINADI that moved me enough that I wanted to post a portion of it here.

By Emily M. at Hearing Voices:

"One of the things I most enjoyed about H.B. Moore’s Whitney-winning historical novel Abinadi is that (and I will be blunt here) Alma the [Elder] has nonmarital s-x (gotta foil the search engines and bowdlerize my post. So much for bluntness.).

This is not because I am a big fan of gratuitous s-x. On the contrary. I skip over graphic scenes, and I have been known to quit reading books altogether, even books I was really enjoying, because of content issues.

But Moore’s descriptions were not graphic; they were, however, scripturally based — King Noah’s court had wine-bibbers and an abundance of loose women. The scriptures are pretty clear on that point. And yet, it would have been tempting to gloss over that while writing the book. Just make Alma a little drunk, you know. Don’t make him really consort with women.

Kudos to Moore for taking the larger view of the situation: Alma the Elder needed to experience sin, and the sin that the scriptures alluded to, so that his healing could have more power."

Emily is right on the mark. In reading the text found in the Book of Mosiah that concerned Alma the Elder and his life as a high priest, I knew that he wasn't an observer. I knew that for a man to taste the true bitterness of repentance he would have to descend to the darkest depths. I've had a few readers who have said, "I wouldn't want so-and-so to read this." I've had reviews that have said, "Warning--not for children." I've had reviewers say, "I was surprised at the evilness of King Noah and his court." I agree. I also believe that some of their evil doings were too abominable to mention--even in the Book of Mormon text.

I'm currently working on a piece for my non-fiction book on Women of the Book of Mormon. As I'm researching information about Isabel, the harlot that led Corianton away (Alma 39), I've found many interesting links between harlotry and idolatry.

Thank you Emily, for your post!

In other news, I spoke with my agent yesterday. My international thriller, QUEEN, is being shopped to publishers. But the process is slow. Each publisher is given a chance to read the manuscript and accept or reject it. It might be months yet before there is good news!


Emily M. said...

Thanks for the link, Heather! I remember thinking when I first read about Alma's sins how grateful I was that you chose to tell the story that way.

I'm looking forward to reading more about Alma in the next book (and congratulations on your Whitney!).

Heather B. Moore said...

Thanks, Emily. I'm honored you'd review my book.

Sandra said...

That was one of the things I loved most about Abinadi as well. The true decent into abomination and whoredoms by Alma. When I read the Book of Mormon I have, at times, wondered at the strength of Alma to withstand the evilness of King Noah's court. I wondered how it was possible for him to go day to day unobserved by the others until he alone stood righteous and fled. Why then did they take notice and pursue him? Why didn't they mock him and force him out before?

After reading Heather's portrayal of Alma in this book, I went back and reread the account in the Book of Mormon with new eyes and thoughts about the way it might have been.

Stephanie Black said...

I thought you handled the depiction of Alma's descent into sin and his repentance extremely well. It was believable, while never being graphic or offensive. The whole book was superbly well done, and congrats on your Whitney!

Heather B. Moore said...

Hi Sandra and Stephanie. Thanks for your comments!

Josi said...

Love Emily's review--I had the same thought. The book would not have been as strong if the characters hadn't been true sinners. They were; the scriptures didn't pull any punches. I also felt it was handled very well in how Alma is at first shocked, then slowly pulled into that world until he no longer 'feels' it's bad. Such a perfect representation of what sin really does to each one of us.

Dave said...

Many of the stories in our scriptures would be rated "R" if they were portrayed in movies even as they are described in the scriptures themselves! I agree with the others that Heather handled Alma in the Abinadi story marvelously. There are similar challenges with Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah coming soon, I'm sure, not to mention many other stories of murder, suffering, and challenges that will be hard to gloss over if you are true to the story (which I know you strive to be).