Unfinished Books: "Hooligan: A Mormon Boyhood" by Douglas Thayer


I've recently started hanging with the Thayer cult, but I'll never be a full-fledged member. Because I found this book intolerably boring. I've had it since its release and I'm still not thirty pages in. So I'm calling it quits.

I'm not sure why I care so little about Thayer's childhood or the Provo of that era. After all, didn't I read and reread the Great Brain books as a child? Isn't this basically a realer and more recent version therof?

I guess. Whatever. I don't care.

It's weird though because I know it's Zarahemla's bestselling book and I know Thayer can spin a good yarn. So why do I find it so tedious and unreadable?

I don't know. And it's stayed by my bedside for years in hopes I would find the resources to give it a more serious shot.

But I have failed. So I'm going to pass on the book to someone else who may like it. My dad's the obvious choice, but the last time I gave him a book I was certain he would like, it didn't work out so well.


  1. Eh, I love Thayer but I hate this book. Not my favorite of his at all. I fail to understand why so many people like it. He covers many of the same material in his short stories and in The Tree House, both of which are far superior.

  2. .

    Yeah. It's a mystery. Maybe it's just the Mormon preference for "true" stories?

    1. People may have bought this, but I don't know how many actually read the whole thing. My copy (which I also quit reading because of boredom) comes from my great-aunt, who bought it because of the historical connection and probably didn't finish it either.

      I think the lesson Mormon writers can learn from this is that older Mormons do buy a lot of Mormon books, so giving that demographic some glimmer of hope that they'll connect is good. But then you need to make sure the book is fun to read...

    2. .

      That could explain why Zarahemla's Thayer-written follow-ups haven't sold as well.

  3. Same thing for me with my Dad--and I gave him Steve Peck, so.