Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review: The Unlikely Disciple, by Kevin Roose

The Unlikely Disciple is the story of Kevin Roose, a student at Brown University who decides to take a semester at "Bible Boot Camp" in order to explore more deeply the "God Divide." Coming from a liberal secular background, Roose isn't sure what he's going to find at Liberty University, and he doesn't get quite what he expected in the beginning, either.

Kevin Roose was the last person to give a print interview to Rev. Jerry Falwell before his death in 2007, and he never revealed to the University president that he was not, himself, an evangelical Christian.

The Unlikely Disciple amazed me. When I first picked this book up, I was expecting a difficult-to-read book that was more analysis than it was experience. Understanding and having accepted Kevin Roose's journalistic background, I imagined that the book would be at best dry and at worst downright boring. I picked it up initially because I was interested in understanding my own past as a somewhat secular pagan in comparison to myself today, as a deeply spiritual Christian. More than anything, I was looking to find some kind of personal affirmation in Roose's book: I wanted someone to, in essence, tell me that it was okay for me to have been a Christian-basher for sixteen years of my life. I wanted to not be alone any longer.

My expectations for this book couldn't have been much further from the mark. Not only is Kevin Roose's style of writing far from journalistic, but he is entertaining and witty. In fact, The Unlikely Disciple drew me in from the first few paragraphs and kept me reading in a manner that I find is unusual with works of non-fiction. I couldn't put this book down!

The Unlikely Disciple was, for me, a chance to relax with the kind of book that can easily be devoured in the span of a few days rather than being slowly picked at bit by bit. The style of the book is very easy to read and it flows well. Although the format is something like a journal (which gives you the opportunity to really see into Roose's thoughts during his semester at Liberty University), the story is written with a great deal of skill.

I was impressed with this book. I learned a lot from it, about myself, the secular liberal I used to be, and the kind of conservative (spiritual) Christian that I want to be. This is an excellent opportunity for us to learn from one another, secular or Christian.

You can get your copy of The Unlikely Disciple on Amazon.

The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose: 4 Star Reviewed and Rated

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