Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Authenticity and Tricky Topics

Any time we write, paint, sculpt, or use any medium to portray actual life, it will not be an exact replica. There is no way to translate every nuance and detail into the art. This is the case with fiction and nonfiction, one may try to be as genuine as possible but there will often be something missing. Nevertheless, a writer does not need the exact words or the very emotions to convey his/her message.  Using the magic of imagination, an author can allow the readers an experience, which can be better than actual life.

In Douglas Thayer’s novel Will Wonders Never Cease the author portrays a family with a teenage son. Contrary to the typical Mormon stereotypes the son; Kyle has not embraced the life that his family or his mother especially promotes.  Since this novel is fiction, Thayer could explore the doubts and fears of a teenage boy in the church without the burden of it being a true story.

I think sometimes we handle hard topics better when they are set in a fictional setting, instead of taking things so seriously we can empathize and allow the characters to grow without judgment. Often authors do not want to share all the difficult true stuff because they do not want to be judged. The next best thing is to make up a character and give him the experiences or background that need to be shared. So that through fiction authors are able to be more authentic with their thoughts and characters than with perhaps a nonfiction story. 

This type of literature is very refreshing as we watch Kyle change from a boy that is not sure about much to a young man that has faced death and has come back with strong beliefs.  It is serious but with a touch of humor that keeps a reader going.

I believe that the audience for such a novel benefits from the authenticity that the author gives to the characters and also the situation. Although the circumstan 
ces that Kyle overcomes are very extraordinary, it takes nothing away from the believability.


  1. I agree with the idea that through fiction we can discuss things in their purest form without becoming as judgmental. If we heard these things of a 15 year old boys mind, someone would likely be very offended by some of his thought process and mind set towards life and church. Like you said I agree that the fiction side of it does allow us to experience such things without becoming offended or disappointed.

  2. I agree that it is hard to accurately represent real life perfectly through which ever medium we choose to portray it with, but on the flip side I feel it is impossible to keep "real life" out of even the most outlandish of fictional works. Thoughts, idea, and feelings are real and that's why we like to read fiction because we can realate or else it wouldn't be enjoyable to me at least.