I must have spent eight summers of my high school and college life going to church camp. I will say it was some of the best times of my life—socially and personally—but I also know that for many of my friends, they had a very different experience. Karen Maine’s Yes, God, Yes is the story of one such high school teen’s very different experience at church camp.
Yes, God, Yes is the story of Alice (Natalia Dyer), whose adolescent social life takes a horrible turn when a rumor spreads that Alice had “tossed the salad” of a fellow student. As a result, she is downgraded on the social hierarchy and loses coveted religious duties during a Catholic church service.
Later, the naïve Alice logs into her AOL account and heads straight into a chat room to find out what tossing someone’s salad is, while never getting a clear answer. Needing to change the course of her social decline, she decides to go to her school’s Catholic church leadership camp. But here, every effort to redeem her social life is thwarted.
“…social life takes a horrible turn when a rumor spreads that Alice had ‘tossed the salad‘ of a fellow student.”
I get I’m a little narcissistic with this review, but watching Yes, God, Yes opened a floodgate of memories that I had transitioning from teen to adult at church. Alice’s experiences, understanding, and exploration of sex and sexuality felt authentic and similar to my experiences. Though Alice’s story took place twenty years after mine, yet not much had changed.
Maine’s story takes us into the church sex talk where monogamy and abstinence are highly praised from on high, and masturbation is a mortal sin. Then there’s crushes and romances as Alice falls for student leader, Chris (Wolfgang Novogratz), whose friendly gestures are misinterpreted as flirtation.
At the heart of Yes, God, Yes is how Alice is judged for something she didn’t do…and she still doesn’t know what she’s accused of doing. She can’t ask serious questions about her feelings and continues to go to AOL chatrooms for answers. Then through a combination of horrible, coincidental events, loses the trust and respectability of her authority figures, particularly Father Murphy (Timothy Simons). Guilt, shame, and mistrust ultimately become Alice’s downfall.
"…the very person who represents God...he doesn’t believe her..."