Ben Brantley of The New York Times compared the show favorably to Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I and The Sound of Music but "rather than dealing with tyrannical, charismatic men with way too many children, our heroes... must confront a one-eyed, genocidal warlord with an unprintable name... That's enough to test the faith of even the most optimistic gospel spreaders (not to mention songwriters). Yet in setting these dark elements to sunny melodies The Book of Mormon achieves something like a miracle. It both makes fun of and ardently embraces the all-American art form of the inspirational book musical. No Broadway show has so successfully had it both ways since Mel Brooks adapted his film The Producers for the stage a decade ago." Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, spent much of his interview with Parker and Stone on the March 10, 2011 episode praising the musical.
Since many books have been analyzed and assigned Lexile scores, these can be used when comparing authors and their books to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Other popular books with an 1150 Lexile score include Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 364,153 words), Moby Dick, (Herman Melville, 206,052 words), and Great Expectations (Charles Dickens, 162,690 words).26
How does the length of the Book of Mormon compare to the first books published by other young authors in the past centuries? The names of writers of 24 years and younger (whom I have been able to identify), their educations, [Page 162]books, word counts (for books of more than 50,000 words), publishing ages, and Lexile scores (when available) are charted above.57 2b1af7f3a8