Monday, June 8, 2009

Review : An Unlikely Disciple

An Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner's Semester at America's Holiest University by Kevin Roose. Grand Central Publishing (March 26, 2009)

I was distracted from my reading of Du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel by a piece on NPR. Two weeks ago, I heard an interview with Kevin Roose about his book, An Unlikely Disciple. The story sounded familiar so I went back to my stacks of ARCs and found that I had picked this up at ALA Midwinter in January. I am very impressed with Kevin Roose, who spent a semester at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in 2007. At the time, Roose was only 19 years old. An Unlikely Disciple is extremely well written for someone of Mr. Roose's age. I'm sure some will fault him for his generous evaluation of Liberty and its evangelical Christian community. I agree that he is rather lenient, yet I am happy that he managed to maintain a sense of objectivity throughout his experience. Most outside views of evangelical Christianity are not and, in fact, tend to dismiss or even attack the values of this group. While I don't agree with evangelical views, I appreciated Roose's attempt to truly understand the people he met at Liberty and his emphasis on the fact that not evangelicals are cut from the same mold. No political or religious sect is entirely of one mind. I would heartily recommend An Unlikely Disciple to anyone curious about the evangelical Christian movement. Perhaps it is age bias on my part, but I am truly amazed by what this now twenty-one year old achieved in An Unlikely Disciple. I look forward to the future work of Kevin Roose as one can only assume his writing and retrospection will improve with age.