The premise of the novel Dispirited captured my attention immediately. The idea of a man leaving his body in search of his dead mother is something that may seem foreign and mystical to even most Latter-Day Saints, but it brought up interesting thoughts and memories for me.
When my cousin Madeline was sixteen, she came down with a case of spinal meningitis. The symptoms started on a Thursday night, and by Saturday, because of an unlucky misdiagnosis by a doctor who was a close family friend, Madeline was gone. This was an extremely difficult time for my family, but especially for her parents, who blamed themselves for their daughter's untimely passing. However, while their minds were tormented during their waking hours, something very interesting happened to them during the night. Both of Madeline's parents began to have repeated dreams in which they were speaking to their daughter. In the dreams, Madeline would comfort her parents, and after relating the details of their separate dreams, the two realized that the dreams had similarities that could not be coincidental. Thus, night became their time to escape their bitter reality and search for their daughter in a realm they had never explored and did not fully understand.
Louis Perkins' novel resurrected these memories for me. Beyond the theme of death being portrayed through Blake searching for his mother or Cathy’s aiding members of her family after Blake’s passing, the most interesting thing to me was the realm in which the search for connection happened. The novel, reflecting Mormon doctrine in a way that only a seasoned Mormon would catch, portrays an interesting relationship between the body and other forces: heaven, limbo, and even dark spirits. We believe that eternally, the Spirit is inseparably tied to the body, but there are moments in which realities cross over and the Spirit World can feel as real as the tangible world of our probation. This novel brings one of the most interesting doctrines to life in a way that made me reanalyze the mental walls that divide our world from the world of spirits around us.