Monday, August 15, 2011

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Since I found out that A Study in Scarlet has been banned for being derogatory towards Mormon’s I decided to read and review the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle classic. It is my belief that books should not be banned due to the fact that they could be considered derogatory; actually, it is my belief that books should never be banned. I understand a need for age appropriate reading material but it is my belief that it is a parent’s choice to what their child can read and understand and it is a person’s right to make an informed decision concerning a belief or opinion religious or otherwise. With that said on to the review.

A Study in Scarlet introduces Holmes and Watson in a classis who done it but I was very surprised at the author's ability to make me side with the criminal. The first half of the story is all about Holmes's tracking down of the man who committed a murder. It unexpectedly ends with his capturing the unsuspected man. The next part of the story then starts in a description about the Latter-day Saints arriving in Utah, saving the life of a man and young girl on the verge of death. The man joins the Saints in order to endure the severity of the desert, but refuses to become polygamous which causes problems.

While it is true that the Mormon leadership is made out to be a secretive society bent on incorporating as many young girls as possible into their polygamous harems you have to remember that this is a work of fiction. If you look at it that way the story does an excellent job of describing the difficulties of having nonconformist opinions in a culture where being a true believer is highly valued. This ended up being the most interesting part of the novel for me due to the reason the book was banned. Instead of writing the straightforward mystery novel that I anticipated, he made me understand the motivations of the criminal even though I wanted to see justice done.

The book was greatly pleasing and I highly recommend it. The Mormon section seem to paint Mormons in a negative light but the section contains some of the best narrative description.

Definitely does not belong on the banned book list.

5 Stars

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