Sunday, February 24, 2013
Author: Theric Jepson
Enjoyment Rating: ****
Source: Review Copy
This book would be rated: PG, for kissing, mild expletives, and BYU hijinks
BYU is a weird place. Some people (myself included) love BYU, in spite of, or maybe even because of, its quirkiness. Others hate BYU with a passion. It's a place where singing hymns in tunnels is a legitimate way to pass a Sunday evening, where rule-abiding boys will never see the inside of a girl's bedroom in four years, where squeals can still be heard on the quad when a twenty-year-old girl flashes the diamond on her left hand for the first time. In 2013, it's definitely a weird place.
Theric Jepson's Byuck (which I read as B-yuck) takes place at our fair campus in 2000, when it was still a weird place. It was still a place where marriage reined as the social preoccupation, and where David Them and his roommate Curses set out to rebel against social norms. They were the boys who would "build fences" instead of getting hitched. The guys, along with David's best friend from back home Martha (aka Referee), work to write a BYU-themed rock opera in which they poke fun of the overriding marriage mentality.
But sometimes BYU, and its social pressures, can catch up with the best of them.
I had fun reading Byuck. Jepson includes lyrics from his opera, lists David writes, notes that David and Ref pass back and forth in church, and a whole bunch of other things along with the main narrative of the story. I feel like I recognize David and his roommates in people I've known at BYU (but not in myself-- I was always unabashedly marriage-minded, much to my utter shame). But these notes also feel a little too self-conscious at times. Ultimately, however, I really enjoyed reading what amounts to a romance novel (that starts as an anti-romance) from a male perspective. If the book is really the love note to his wife that I suspect it is, that makes it even more satisfying for me.