Phelps-Roper is a masterful writer. She writes movingly about the searing pain of separation from those she continues to love, and beautifully about how freeing herself from a theology of hate has given her life greater meaning and purpose. In a time of growing intolerance, Unfollow is essential reading.
... [Phelps-Roper] paints a nuanced portrait of the lure and pain of zealotry, though she leaves many questions unanswered ... for readers who aren’t as familiar with the Testaments, the scriptural passages may be overwhelming ... Unfortunately, the book dodges the overarching question of whether Westboro is an aberration or an extension of the dogmatism of many religious adherents who lack tolerance for theological diversity. As someone so deeply enmeshed in religion, the author is in a unique position to ponder the overlap between extremist and mainstream religiosity, or the ways many mainstream evangelicals have driven the culture wars in the name of their God. She’s also oddly silent on her take on religion now—on whether or not she still considers herself a Christian, whether she believes in God at all.
Phelps-Roper provides a vivid sense of what it felt like to be a child in this unusual family ... increasingly, as she developed her own sense of right and wrong, submission became less tolerable. The author does a particularly nice job charting this growing tension ... One might approach this book wondering how a group such as Westboro can exist in 21st-century America. What feels remarkable, after reading Phelps-Roper’s story, is that she was able to leave at all.