Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church by Megan Phelps-Roper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is memoir 4 of my Non-fiction November memoir project.
Unfollow chronicles Megan Phelps' journey out of the Westboro Baptist Church, notorious for anti-gay protests and general awfulness. Megan shows it from the inside (her grandfather started the church) and I think anyone interested in cults or extremism will learn a lot about the tactics used to make people behave in ways that seem so unforgivable, and also to understand the keys to helping them work their way out.
As a person coming from a background of similar religious beliefs (if not the insular committee,) I sadly related to a lot of this, and some of her realizations resonated in ways I hadn't actually considered before. She likely has a long road ahead of her, still isolated from her family still in the church, and the almost 30 years of brainwashing that (trust me) surfaces in bizarre ways. Being raised in an extremist religion creates an internal running dialogue of doctrines and verses and teachings. Megan captures this experience in a way I've never been able to articulate. Her long mental journey out also comes with the realization that Westboro is not as unique as we want to believe it is, that extremism and hatred are on the rise, and I'm glad she is working to counter it from this point forward.
I have ao many pages marked but read an ARC so feel I can't put them here. I am likely to buy it and reread it so check back.
I had a copy of this book from FSG books through netgalley and it came out October 8, 2019.
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