Review of Ockham’s Razor by Alan Williams

Title: Ockham’s Razor

Author: Alan Michael Williams

Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (self-published)

Genre: Fiction (gay fiction)

Year Published: 2009

Number of Pages: 250

Binding: Paperback

ISBN10: 1439235279

ISBN13: 978-1439235270

Price: $12.99 print; $7.99 Kindle. Available at Amazon.com.

Reviewed by Jonathan Langford.

Note: I received a free electronic review copy of this book from the author.

Reviewing Ockham’s Razor is a bit odd for me. It’s a book about Micah, a gay kid in his early twenties who was raised a Mormon (though he claims not to be one anymore), and his on-again-off-again relationship with Brendan, a 17-year-old gay Mormon who isn’t sure if he wants to stay in the Church or not. It’s also about the mutual misunderstandings and awkwardness that are common in relationships of any kind at this age, and about Micah’s efforts to engage with mental models about life from a variety of sources, ranging from French philosopher Michel Foucault to Micah’s Mormon mother, to two nurses who work at the same detox center as Micah. And it’s about Brendan as well, though as readers we never really see him clearly: only the imperfect and poorly understood Brendan-construct, subject of endless hypothesizing on Micah’s part, that dwells in the older boy’s mind.

On a surface level, Ockham’s Razor seems in some ways like a mirror image to my own novel, No Going Back, also published in 2009 (maybe it was something in the water?) and also about a gay teenage Mormon kid, though the character in No Going Back is somewhat younger and never strays quite as far from the Church as either Brendan or Micah. In both novels, the Mormon Church and its teachings about homosexuality represent almost another major character in the story, influencing the actions and motivations of the other characters and representing at least a perceived alternative to self-acceptance as a homosexual. Despite some optimistic suggestions otherwise early in Ockham’s Razor and Paul’s initial attempts to balance his gay side and his Mormon side in No Going Back, ultimately in both cases choosing to be Mormon means choosing not to live as a homosexual. Continue reading “Review of Ockham’s Razor by Alan Williams”