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Book review: The New York Regional mormon Singles Halloween Dance 

This memoir about a young practicing Mormon and her life in New York City is a completely unexpected treat. Elna Baker grew up in Seattle, London and Madrid as a member of a devout Mormon family but decided to go to school at NYU rather than Brigham Young, in order to eventually pursue her dream of being an actress. She's a sparkling storyteller and a fine comedian ("the only 20-something virgin Mormon stand-up comedian in New York") with a knack for turning personal embarrassment and conflicts into great stories of extreme culture clash.

Once in New York, she lost 80 pounds quickly and found that, ta-daa, men now wanted to be with her. Devout but conflicted, Baker tells her stories with a charming honesty, relating how she struggled with wanting-but-not-wanting sex and alcohol, and explaining to would-be lovers that, well, it just wasn't gonna happen. Baker is by no means a straitlaced fanatic, however; her off-and-on resistance to her religion feels real, as do her descriptions of getting used to the quirks of life in NYC.

After just kissing the same guy three weekends in a row (without ever explaining that I'm a Mormon and my limit is first base) my date got tired of waiting and slid his hand up my shirt. Instinctively, I tensed up. "You're so uptight," he whispered into my ear, "I mean, come on, did you and your last boyfriend even do anal?"

She was thrilled when a fellow Mormon asked her out, that is, until he picked me up in his mini-van. As we drove to dinner, I glanced back at all the empty seats and felt overwhelmed by the enormous pressure. He wants me to someday fill this. Dinner wasn't any better. When I told my Utah born and raised date that I'd been living in the city for nine years he looked at me in shock and said, "Do you at least know how to sew?"

I came away with respect for Baker's commitment, and admiration for her humor and honesty in dealing with her doubts, and with the complications her commitment brings to her life.

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