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Summary

It was an upbringing in many ways normal. A loving home, shared with squabbling siblings, overseen by devoted parents. Yet in other ways it was the precise opposite: a revolving door of TV camera crews and documentary makers, a world of extreme discipline, of siblings vanishing in the night.  

Megan Phelps-Roper was raised in the Westboro Baptist Church - the fire-and-brimstone religious sect at once aggressively homophobic and anti-Semitic, rejoiceful for AIDS and natural disasters, and notorious for its picketing the funerals of American soldiers. From her first public protest, aged five, to her instrumental role in spreading the church's invective via social media, her formative years brought their difficulties. But being reviled was not one of them. She was preaching God's truth. She was, in her words, 'all in'.  

In November 2012, at the age of 26, she left the church, her family and her life behind.  

Unfollow is a story about the rarest thing of all: a person changing their mind. It is a fascinating insight into a closed world of extreme belief, a biography of a complex family, and a hope-inspiring memoir of a young woman finding the courage to find compassion for others as well as herself.  

©2019 Megan Phelps-Roper (P)2019 Quercus Editions Limited

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Hope for the hurting

Having recently left fundamental Christianity myself, so much of Megan Phelps-Roper's writing was immediately familiar. Her story reflects the lives of many who have left and are leaving their religions behind. Her intellectual honesty is to be greatly admired and should fly as a flag of hope and light for those who are entrenched in the machine of religion, and unsubstantiated beliefs of every flavour. In spite of the many forms of horrific shunning, excommunication and social distancing inflicted on those coming out of religious belief, this book (and I) would have you know...  There is life outside of religious belief. There is love outside of religious belief. There is morality outside of religious belief. There is support outside of religious belief. There is hope outside of of religious belief. As for the audiobook itself, it's clear Megan had missed reading aloud, as she poured her all into articulating her story as though it were unfolding before me. So intelligently written. So compassionately written. The whole rainbow of emotion was clear and evident throughout her reading. I'll be listening to this again very soon.

21 people found this helpful

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Fascinating story, beautifully written

A very moving and honest story of redemption. One of the best audiobooks I’ve read - (and I’ve got over 550). Highly recommend

10 people found this helpful

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Beautifully written and narrated

Having seen the Louis Theroux documentary many years ago, I had forgotten about Westboro Baptist Church until recently listening to Megan on the Joe Rogan Podcast. It feels like such a privilege to be allowed such insight into the church, family and Megan's personal journey, leaving it all and making her way in a world she was raised to vilify. The story goes on from darkness to show the incredible kindness of the world. Thank you.

6 people found this helpful

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Amazing

Heart felt. Brilliant. True. Everything you could hope for. Well done Megan, a real masterpiece.

5 people found this helpful

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A beautiful full of love and redemption

What a beautiful well written book. I often like to listen to books about personal experiences read by the author because it gives me a feel of the person and makes it far more personal. I have been following WBC for many years through documentaries and the books written by x members. I think It is fascinating to look at the believes of others, particularly when I don't share them. Although the message they preached was hateful i never thought they were essentially evil, just misguided and wrong. This is truly a book about bravery and love and the power of change. I wish Megan , Grace and all of their family love, peace and happiness - I hope there is a happy resolution for them

5 people found this helpful

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Beautiful, intelligent and honest

Megan shows unbelievable strength and natural story-telling ability through this thoughtful and eye-opening tale. I couldn’t stop listening, so engaging all the way through. Megan’s voice is also easy to listen to and therapeutic....thank you for sharing your powerful story with the world.

4 people found this helpful

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Amazing book 💜🧡

This book amazing, couldn't stop listening to it. Hope she writes another book! x x

4 people found this helpful

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The courage to leave a life you knew was wrong.

I will get my criticism over quickly as there is so much good in this book. It is simply that sometimes an author should not narrate his or her book. This is one of those times, unfortunately Megan sounded so robotic a lot of the time. Moving to the positives, thank you for talking about your experiences. It must have been very hard to question things that you felt were not right, but not have anyone in your family to discuss your feelings with. I am not the biggest fan of social media but thank goodness you had this platform where you could talk with others but also put a pause in the conversation to rethink and reflect your own and others views. Your courage to explain yourself and admit that maybe your ideals were wrong is phenomenal. I love that you were able to see that there is good in the world. That people outside your church are forgiving and kind despite what you were told by your church. These people are not the loathsome individuals who should be condemned to misery and damnation. The Westboro Baptist’s indoctrinated their style of religion on its followers that they would be secured a place in heaven. however they were not lead with love and understanding just fear and drea. A question comes to mind for me..... What is the difference between a preacher and a psychotic? It's the sounds of the voices they hear. Well done Megan for awakening a part of yourself to question the hate and antagonism you were told was ok. To have the courage of your convictions to see the light and leave family, security and set sail to a new life which I hope has fulfilled you. I would recommend that you listened to Megan’s TED talk and also watch the Louis Theroux programme when he stayed with the Phelps Roper family.

3 people found this helpful

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Loved it!!

The book gave an amazing insight into the "Most hated family" (as Theroux would call them). I remember watching them on TV and feeling really angry but reading it from Megan's point of view gave you a more humanistic view of the church. Although she doesn't justify the families actions she makes you realise that they are all just human and that fighting hate with hate will never work.

3 people found this helpful

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Eye opening!

Such an honest account and interesting journey. Highly recommend, regardless of your views on religion and the WBC. So well written and heartbreakingly read.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tecomarob
  • 19-10-19

We are all Megan

The vitriolic intensity of her experience highlights all human journeys: complex and full. Her honesty and the kindness of others is inspiring and encourages epistemological humility I.e. doubt.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-20

Absolutely fantastic

An eloquently told story about the deep ramifications of changing ones mind. Thank you so much!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-01-20

Unnecessarily lengthy

Story was interesting and the author herself proved a capable narrator, but it was really hard to finish.