Slapped!: A Novel Based on a True Story
by Paul Swenson

"In some ways, the story of the Jordan—its beauty and its exploitation—is the story of every major river in the United States."

Two Mormon housewives, Julie Bell and Jessica Tobler, are new neighbors when they learn of the plans to build a multimillion-dollar commercial project on the South Jordan plains and riverbanks. The developers try everything to persuade the women to stand down from their protests, going so far as to threaten to sue them. Julie and Jessica, however, never fold. Instead, they form SPACE, a community group dedicated to saving the South Jordan river and the wildlife that inhabits the wooded area surrounding it. When the women are hit with a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation), they fight even harder for their purpose. They attend city council meetings and other public local government events while still raising their families, passing out flyers, and giving speeches as they drive their children to school, extracurriculars, and other errands.

This book exposes the loopholes for corporations to finance projects that can harm communities and still have the legal system back them up. The fact that communities can protest and showcase data that proves the damage such projects will cause yet still face opposition is heartbreaking. Readers will undoubtedly resonate with the characters defending South Jordan, all who have young families and personal problems in their lives as shown throughout the book, and appreciate their strength. However, the pace of the narrative is slowed somewhat by the perspectives of some minor characters that seem not to add much to the story. Readers who like books based on true events or are interested in aspects of the Mormon lifestyle will likely enjoy this book. This book also offers up some intriguing facts about Salt Lake and Utah.

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