Phyllis Barber grew up in Las Vegas, in the midst of a devout Mormon family. As a small child, she began to feel uneasy with her faith's all-pervasive certainty and righteousness. As she grew, the tensions between her religious beliefs and her desire for a larger, more cultured life also grew. She studied piano and dance, performed with a high school precision dance team, worked as an accompanist in a ballet studio and as a model.
How I Got Cultured is a moving, candid, and sometimes hilarious account of an American adolescence, negotiated between the strictures of a demanding faith and the allures of one of the most flamboyant cities in the world.
"This is an absorbing, often comic, always vivid account of a childhood torn between the demands of a strict Mormon household and the enticements of a thoroughly secular world. . . . In its shape, its tone, its humor, and its verbal authority, this memoir bears comparison to Annie Dillard’s An American Childhood." -Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Private History of Awe
"The memoir of the remarkable daughter who does splits and cartwheels along her own fine line between fame and damnation." -Sally S. Eckhoff, Voice Literary Supplement
"Simply the best memoir of Mormon girlhood written in this century." -The Association for Mormon Letters