Toward Happier Choices by Michael Oborn is an ambitious collection of feminist and humanist narratives hoping to derail millenniums of dogma supporting cultural divisiveness and the suppression of women’s human rights. Oborn’s text is a thought-provoking, page-turner comprising ten short stories, several expositions, and five short memoirs of persons Oborn considered exceptional. The author explores themes such as women’s right, the pollution of the oceans, and the myth told about coffee.
Oborn’s narratives convey his search for meaning in his life after he strips himself of his religious moorings. Far from being didactic stories, the majority are short and amusing narratives that share the shift of his perspective from a religious, stereotypical, and impersonal lifestyle to one that was indulgent, passionate, and enervating.
His first chapter, “Christopher Plummer and the Mormon Apostle” is an engrossing narrative that muses upon his innate life calling as opposed to his imposed life calling. The author’s narrative drips with irony, as he equates the drama of a lead actor in Hamlet to that of the mesmerizing performance of the Mormon Apostle.
His next story is a heart-breaking tale of his search for employment after his divorce. Oborn explains, “The State of Utah had become a bleak and barren land with no wall separating church and state.” The next eight stories uncover different stages of Oborn’s memoir featuring varying persons prominent in his life who left an invaluable imprint on him.
I particularly relished that Oborn’s book is a covert declaration of war on debilitating fundamentalist philosophies and misogynistic religious doctrines. His revelations of the nerve-racking struggle to survive and thrive amid a torrent of guilt and impotence in the arena of independent and critical thinking engendered from his Mormon background was one I could readily identify with, as I am from a staunch Catholic background. I felt that his expositions unveiling the philosophies he considered as possessing genuine wisdom and universal truths were logical, wholesome, and transformational.
One of the indelible lines etched in my psyche from Oborn’s refreshing text is the following, “The ludicrous belief that one man will have many wives makes of her a commodity and of him a sadist.” Oborn’s memoir about Sin City is perhaps one of the most amusing, incredible and endearing stories, I have ever read. This book of narratives is ideally suited for adults as the author in expressing angst at life’s improbable situations sometimes used profane language. This book is for readers who are open-minded and willing to engage in critical thinking. This book is ideal for readers desirous of a former insider’s perspective of the Mormon religion.
For its passion-filled, heart-warming, and heart-stirring narratives, this book deserves a four-star rating. Unfortunately, because of several grammatical errors, I deducted one star based on our reviewer’s guidelines. Thus, I awarded this brazen heart book 3 out of 4 stars. Professional editing will eliminate the recurring diction errors that can be a distraction to some readers. Errors aside, Oborn’s writing style is captivating, poignant, and deft.