Kevin Roose, child of Quaker parents and student at Brown University met a group of Liberty University students while on a trip with his boss. The result of that meeting… a desire to live and study at Liberty University for a semester where he could immerse himself in the evangelical Christian culture and get to know a group of people that he knew little about. During his semester at Liberty University he experienced many things. He got to sing in the choir at Thomas Road Baptist Church and attend a variety of church services the likes of which he’d never before experienced. He met regularly with a pastor and explored the campus. He interviewed Jerry Falwell himself. He taught himself to stop swearing and did his best to follow the rules (all forty-six pages of them). He went on a spring break mission trip to Daytona Beach and attended a support group for chronic masturbators. Oh, and he studied young-earth creationism while attempting to keep his cool every time he heard a homophobic statement.
I have to say, I really enjoyed reading The Unlikely Disciple. From the first page I was interested to see what he had to say about being immersed in a culture so different from his own and trying to fit in as if he too was an evangelical Christian.
There are two huge positives that stood out for me while I was reading this book. First, Roose’s observations of the other students, faculty, and staff at the university. By that I mean that even though he is on the complete opposite side of the belief spectrum from those he was living and studying with, he didn’t criticize their beliefs or put them down. Sure, he might disagree with many of their beliefs, but that is natural, and he isn’t a jerk about it. He also talks about some of the friends he made while he was at Liberty and the fact that aside from their religious and generally conservative beliefs, students at Liberty are just like students at any secular college in the States. They have fun, stress over exams, and some break rules. Basically, he shows that they are human just like the rest of us.
The other thing that I really liked about this book was the fact that a lot of what Roose writes is about what he is feeling. He writes about his fears, insecurities, and his struggles throughout that semester. You’re able to get a good feel for what was going on in his head.
The Unlikely Disciple gives a peak at what is happening on a Christian college campus. In my opinion it is an all-around great read. The way the book is written makes it a quick read with the added benefit of being quite humorous. Most certainly an enjoyable book.
I’ve just posted my review of Emma.
Hannah, I just found your wonderful blog because you commented on my review of Murder in Little Egypt. I’ve wanted to check out Unlikely Disciple since I saw the Salon.com excerpt, and I’m so happy to read your review. Love your style and I look forward to following your site.
Thanks so much and I hope you enjoy the book when you get the chance to check it out!