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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Unlikely Disciple

This will be another VERY SHORT review (for why, see this post).


The Unlikely Disciple:
A Sinner's Semester at
America's Holiest University

by Kevin Roose
324 pages


Kevin was a college student at Brown University, a very liberal school, when he met several students from Liberty University, a very conservative Christian school. He was fascinated (and a bit horrified) by the rules and regulations the students at Liberty had to follow and wondered why anyone would voluntarily submit to them. So he decided to "go undercover" to find out. He enrolled at Liberty and pretended to be a recent convert to Christianity in order to find out more about the school and the students who choose to go there.

I was very leery about this book when I first heard of it. As a Christian (through not a super conservative one), I was afraid it would be a simple "slam Christianity" rant. But I heard from several bloggers I respect that it was worth reading so I decided to give it a shot. I suggested it for my book club and they chose it as our October read.

This is a fascinating book. Kevin is a very good writer and I enjoyed reading his story.* I appreciated that did his best to be open-minded and non-judgemental. It allowed him to experience things more fully and learn about himself in the process. One of the things he learned is that people are people, no matter if they believe the same as you or not; we really are not that different after all. He also learned that leading a double life is a lot harder than he'd anticipated ...

Kevin had some crazy experiences - both good and bad - at Liberty. His story is worth reading and I definitely recommend it. I'm looking forward to my book club meeting on 10/25 as I'm sure this book will generate some great discussion!


* Kevin interned for AJ Jacobs while he was working on The Year of Living Biblically; that's how Kevin was first exposed to Liberty University.



*** Spoiler Alert ***

Although I really enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it, the ending made me a bit sad. I knew ahead of time that Kevin did not become a Christian so that was not a surprise, but I was surprised at how it affected me. He came SO CLOSE to it but couldn't take that final step. But who knows, maybe it will happen down the road ...

*** End Spoiler Alert ***

10 comments:

Justin Narin said...

That is quite some book... will have to add to my list thanks for the wonderful review.


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lilly said...

I've heard of this book and mainly I have heard good things. Like you, I usually steer away from books of this kind because I am simply tired of reading and hearing how bad Christianity is when I know it isn't and people mostly say it based on individual incidences without objectivity.
But I might get this one a go.

Heather J. said...

Justin - Thanks for coming by.

Lilly - Please do give it a try. It was a very interesting book and it presented opposing viewpoints in as non-confrontational a manner as possible. There were still things that bothered me, but more b/c people actually believe those things than b/c of the way they were presented.

kelly said...

added to my "to read" list! Looks interesting!

bermudaonion said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one and hope to get to it soon.

Anonymous said...

i enjoyed it, too. i think a seed was definitely planted, especially since he's still praying.

opheliazepp

Beth F said...

A fellow blogger passed this one on to me. I have reservations too, but that's because I'm *not* a Christian! But the reviews, including yours has made me curious, and I hope to read it soon.

Heather J. said...

Kelly - YAY!

bermudaonion - I'll be watching for your review ...

opheliazepp - looking forward to our book club discussion!

Beth F - Definitely read it. I think you'd appreciate where Kevin is coming from ... AND I'd love to know your opinion if you do read it!

avisannschild said...

I keep reading great reviews of this book -- it's definitely on my wish list!

Heather J. said...

avisannschild - it was quite good, do read it!

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