The Conversion of Jeff Williams
Reading a book that touches the heart and stimulates the imagination is cause for celebration. When this book leaves you wanting more, such a book, and its author, merit the highest praise.
The Conversion of Jeff Williams tells the story of a Mormon teen, lost in the adventure of growing-up, unfocused and unsure, reaching out for meaning and direction. He finds all this in a visit to a cousin in Provo. Jeff's immersion in Mormon culture, so different from his life in California, causes him to look deeply into his own soul, sorting the important from the trivial, and defining his own life's journey.
But this comes with a price. Jeff must now re-evaluate his life, his attitudes and beliefs, and the strength of his testimony. Standing side by side with his cousin Christopher, he realizes he still has much growing up- and growing out-to do. Jeff's journey to wholeness is the meat of this story. And in that story we each may find echoes of our own experience.
This is what good fiction writing is all about. It narrows the distance between the characters and the reader, and draws the reader into the plot. It makes imaginary things seem real. And although the characters are invented, the reader finds echoes of reality in the lives of those characters.
Douglas Thayer's fine sense of irony, his adept pacing and sensitive writing, are once again demonstrated in this fine novel. Mormon writing is truly coming into full flower, and Thayer is part of this process. The Association for Mormon Letters is proud to present its award in the Novel to The Conversion of Jeff Williams.