Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The Unlikely Disciple by Kevin Roose
Liberty University is not a party school. Founded and presided over until 2007 by Reverend Jerry Falwell, Liberty boasts a strict code of conduct limiting couples from anything more than hand holding and 3 second or less hugs, teaches young earth Creationism as part of its core curriculum, and holds church services on the college basketball court. The Unlikely Disciple is the story of Kevin Roose, sophomore at Brown University, aspiring journalist, and lapsed Quaker agnostic, and his semester undercover at Liberty to find out what separates it from other colleges and how different Liberty students were from the collegiate stereotype.
Roose's journey through bible studies, prayer groups, lust counseling, and a Spring Break tip to Daytona Beach... to witness to the students clubbing and lying on the beach is humorous and heartfelt. He grows attached to his floormates, pastors, and even a girl who is just a bit to edgy to fit in. He experiences the highs and lows of life at Liberty and lets the reader decide how to react to these students who don't dance or drink but still struggle with real college issues and the role faith plays in their lives.
Definitely an interesting book for anyone going away to school or already there, Roose's narration is frustrating at times but he remains a pretty impartial observer no matter how entrenched he gets in the Liberty lifestyle. He is also the protege of writer A.J. Jacobs, who wrote The Know-It-All which you should also definitely check out if you're wondering how reading the Encyclopedia Brittanica can be interesting.