Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Monday, April 11, 2011

Who's At the Door? by Dan Harrington: A Review

Today, I'm shaking things up a bit and reviewing some non-fiction. Who's at the Door? by Dan Harrington.

I was born and raised a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormons). In fact, my family have been members all the way back to the beginnings of the church. I've known all about our beliefs and doctrines well, forever. It's a part of who I am. So I've always been curious about what it's like to be an investigator of the church--to learn about it as an adult. Conversely, I never had the opportunity to serve a mission as a young adult. Young ladies can serve at age 21, and by the time I turned 21, I was already married and expecting my first baby. So I also don't really know what it's like to be a full-time missionary, either.

Who's At the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries by Dan Harrington gave me a chance to find out.

From the back of the book:

Right now, thousands of people across the world are meeting with the more than 50,000 Latter-day Saint missionaries. You've seen these young "elders" on the streets, in your neighborhood, and even outside your home. But have you ever wondered who they are? Dan Harrington did. Who's at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries is one man's experience with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Maine. Not just another tale of conversion, this book is about seeing life from a new perspective, gaining respect for another faith, and finding friends in unlikely places. Find out who's at the door and what can happen when you open it.

I found this book compelling, beautifully written and quite poignant. In fact, I had a hard time putting it down. I read it in one day. Kind of amazing for me!

My favorite quote from the book is this:

People come in, make their mark, and leave. It doesn't matter if they're a missionary or not. In recording these events, I wonder if that's why writing has always meant so much to me. In a changing world where people disappear like smoke in the wind, writing can make a moment last. It offers a time to ponder and reflect and a chance to hold onto things that possess a special meaning for us.

I think that's just what Dan's book does so well. It captures a moment that he experienced and then lets the reader experience it as well. He does an excellent job drawing the reader in. This is a great book for people of any faith, or none at all, who are curious about Mormon missionaries or investigators or who just want to look at life from a different perspective for a while.

Visit Dan Harrington's blog for more information and links to order the book.

*I received a free copy of the book to review. That in no way influenced my opinion.


Peggy Urry said...

I did get to serve as a full-time missionary and sometimes wonder about the 'other side' of it. Sounds like an interesting book. I love the quote you included, too.

LTM said...

this sounds like a fascinating book, Angie! I would love to read it just from a research perspective. How interesting. Thanks for sharing~ :o) <3

dellgirl said...

Sounds like a very interesting book, you've done a great review.

I just wanted to say hello, hope you are doing well and everything is going okay. Have a splendid Week!

Angela Felsted said...

This looks like a wonderful read. Thanks for the review.

Angie said...

Thanks for your comments, ladies! It's definitely worth giving the book a try. (I normally respond by email, but I'm having email issues.) Thanks so much for stopping by!