Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Lacked Upon

Nephi Anderson's novel "Added Upon" tells the story of the plan of salvation, as believed by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It was a revolutionary novel, the first of a long line of what we today refer to as "Mormon literature." This novel opened up many doors for other aspiring Mormon authors to publish their work.

That being said, Anderson's novel felt like the first of it's kind. The idea of the story was a very compelling and interesting one for sure. Many people, even today, are very interested in learning where they came from and what will happen after death and this offers one such view in a cute novel. However, the characters, albeit adorably cheesy, were not well-developed. I never felt very connected on any level to the characters. I also felt at times that the story line was a bit confusing, as we jumped from character to character and even from one time to another.

Thinking of a non-Mormon audience, I think that these readers would get extremely confused and lost. There were terms that weren't fully explained until much later on, such as temples. The whole concept overall is a hard thing to accept if it's not explained properly and I myself got confused in certain sections as to what part of the plan of salvation we were supposed to be learning about.

Even with all of these complaints, I still enjoyed the novel overall. Anderson may have bitten off more than he could plausibly chew when he chose the plan of salvation as the basis of his novel, but he did pave the way for other novels with more clarity and deeper, more realistic characters to be written and published. The saving grace of this novel is it's fascinating topic of the plan of salvation, which I believe is the only real reason I enjoyed the novel to any degree.


  1. I am a strong advocate for character development, as I am sure as English majors we all are. Anderson introduced not just a lot of characters but a lot of main characters and I feel like his book would have needed to be much longer if he allowed his readers to establish a connection with the characters. As you mentioned, the topic of his novel was definitely interesting to ponder on but there was a great lacking in the character development.

  2. We all saw flaws in the writing, but I think you figured out the BIGGEST issue: "Anderson may have bitten off more than he could plausibly chew when he chose the plan of salvation as the basis of his novel." When writing about *eternity* it's a little hard to get everything in there, well transitioned and explained, sufficiently developed, yada yada. I mean, I've read entire novels that take place in one day, so this book would have done better as a series than a short novel. Though of course, we appreciated the brevity of painful writing. :)