Megan Phelps-Roper is a beautiful writer, and her journey - from Westboro to becoming one of the most empathetic, thoughtful, humanistic writers around - is exceptional and inspiring. I met Megan shortly after she left her church. She said, 'I want to do good, but I don't know how.' With Unfollow she's figured out how.
Megan Phelps-Roper is one of the most inspiring women I have ever met. If you want to see how a girl raised on religious fanaticism and sectarian hatred can be cured by the power of honest reasoning, read this book.
Megan Phelps-Roper finds a way to tell the story of the girl she was raised to be from the perspective of the woman she became, without rewriting history or losing touch with the earnestness that made everything in her world seem ok, if not downright righteous. Despite a fundamental transformation of epic proportions, Megan's core, her soul, remains the same throughout: kind, passionate, and open. Her process is wildly brave and incredibly thoughtful and this book gives us the incomparable insight into a world we all, and yet, none of us, know. This book will leave you holding your heart.
Megan Phelps-Roper has guts - maybe more guts than can comfortably be contained within one adult human. First, as a member of the scary Westboro Baptist Church, she had the guts to get into the faces of people she disapproved of, gays and Jews and less fiery Christians, and tell them why God hated them. Then - and this is where you and I come in - she had the guts to listen and to think, and to decide that everything she had built her life upon was wrong. This is a beautiful, gripping book about a singular soul, and an unexpected redemption.
Unfollow is a book that speaks eloquently to our divided times: the tale of a young girl born into a family whose name is a byword for bigotry and how she grew into a compassionate young woman, leaving her family behind and forging an entirely new understanding of the world and her place in it. Full of insight, thoughtfulness and vivid detail, it is also the debut of a gifted new writer. For anyone who enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy or Educated, Unfollow is an essential text, a testament to the fact that there is no-one immune to childhood indoctrination, but also to the ever-present possibility of profound change.
Rarely do you come across someone with the courage and clarity of Megan Phelps-Roper. From her story, we can learn things sorely needed in our age: empathy, openness, and how we can best build bridges across divided lines.
Megan's story embodies the power of patience, listening, and empathy in this time of extreme intolerance and hatred of one's ideological enemies. It is, quite simply, exactly what the world needs right now.
Excellent . . . Phelps-Roper's intelligence and compassion shine throughout with electric prose . . . For anyone interested in the power of rhetoric, belief, and family, Phelps-Roper's powerful, empathetic memoir will be a must-read.
Eloquent and entirely candid . . . A heartfelt and richly detailed memoir.
A gripping story, beautifully told, and one offering an extraordinary insight into the minds and thoughts of rational, bright, generally decent people who have been brainwashed into believing crazy, cruel things. Phelps-Roper's years of voracious reading were not wasted. In clear, readable prose, she moves between remembered scenes, vivid descriptions and reflection to paint a fascinating portrait of the family she loved and had to leave . . . It takes real guts to do what she has done. It takes real talent to produce a book like this. Its message could not be more urgent.
Unfolds like a suspense novel . . . A brave, unsettling, and fascinating memoir about the damage done by religious fundamentalism.
A nuanced portrait of the lure and pain of zealotry.
A must-read for anyone who loved Tara Westover's Educated and is ultimately a book about hope and compassion.
'Offers an important lesson in our current, angry political climate. Phelps-Roper's story is instructive and captivating in itself, but it also contains a critical message about communication and understanding for an era in which they are increasingly scarce. Listening and persuading have become rare skills, and they are needed now more than ever. If the spokeswoman raised on the picket lines of the most hated family and church in America can be persuaded to leave bigotry and everything she's ever known behind and make amends with those she once tormented, what excuse can there be for our age of competitive pettiness?'