Local Authors > Robison E. Wells

Another review

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House of Mustard:
I think I'm actually happier with this one, despite the fact that it's not all that amazing.  What's cool about this one is that it's unsolicited by the publisher, and it's not someone who just reviews LDS books.  So, even though it's not as outright complimentary as the Meridian Review, I take it as a bigger compliment because it's from someone who was under no obligation to read the book.


That's great! It sounds like a much more balanced review than Meridian's, which is actually not surprising to me. Meridian reviewers don't know how to keep themselves out of the review, and they don't know how to be concise.

Edit: Just went back and re-read the Meridian review (well, most of it), and I think she's actually getting better at concise and less personal. It was a good review, too.

House of Mustard:
I was asked to review a book for Meridian once, and they told me that if I didn't like the book they wouldn't print the review.  They weren't forcing me to write a good review (because I could have just opted to not write it), but saying that they only want to publish upbeat, happy reviews.

(The truth, though, is that that's what their audience wants.  They're not looking for art critique, just book recommendations.)

That's what a lot of review journals do--only review the ones they like, and it's an implicit "we didn't like that one" if it's not reviewed. However, I find that Meridian takes the "must be happy! happy! happy! happy!" Mormon publishing thing beyond any limit of annoyance sometimes. They often deny reality, same as the whitewashing that often happens with LDS publishers. There's a difference between trying to find something that fits certain standards, and insisting on taking out anything of interest because some small minority might find it offensive (when a rational person of the LDS persuasion wouldn't).

This is actually why I like your books, and some of the books coming out from other LDS authors like what's his name the BYU prof? Dean Hughes, that's it--in his later books at least of the Children of the Promise (haven't read anything recent of his) And a few others, though I can't think of their names. They and you don't go for the sappy all-out "the world is Evil, therefore we Good people must shun the world" black-and-white dichotomy. That kind of mindset--mostly seen in Covenant's romance books--really bugs me, because it can read as preachy and insincere.

I'm not saying Meridian is preachy and insincere. Just that they often buy into that mindset that can come off as sugary-sweet. But it's what their audience mostly wants, so more power to them.

House of Mustard:
My main beef with Meridian is that they've taken LDS values and both politicized and commercialized them.  Instead of merely reporting LDS news, or having articles that may interest LDS people, they try to sell you something (whether it's a product or a philosophy) by tugging at your religious heart strings.

For example, instead of promoting a board game by saying it'd be fun for family home evening, Meridian would say that it 'strengthens the family'.  By using those kinds of Mormon buzzwords, they're selling to your testimony rather than your consumer needs.  (I'm sure there are better examples, but that's the one that's stuck in my head right now...)

Also, I dislike how they present themselves as an LDS news outlet, and then, amongst stories about temples in Nigeria and memoriams to apostles' dead spouses, they insert articles about alternative medicine, homeschooling, and Libertarianism.  I'm not saying that there's anything necessarily wrong with any of these things, but I do think that Meridian indirectly presents them as "these things are what good Mormons do/believe".




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