Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions Paperback – June 26, 2010

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$19.99 $3.49

Amish Spirituality & Culture
Browse a selection of the most popular Amish Spirituality & Culture titles.

Editorial Reviews


“These days the stories I love to read are the ones that ask questions, that live in the tension, that allow me to bring my doubt and uncertainty and join the conversation. Rachel Held Evans’ Evolving in Monkey Town is one of those stories.” -- Shauna Niequist

From the Publisher

"With Evolving in Monkey Town, Rachel Held Evans steps onto the stage as a gifted writer, an honest storyteller, and a compelling voice in the Christian community. She represents what is most hopeful and promising in a new generation of articulate, intelligent, and faithful young leaders.

"These days the stories I love to read are the ones that ask questions, that live in the tension, that allow me to bring my doubt and uncertainty and join the conversation. Rachel Held Evans' Evolving in Monkey Town is one of those stories." -- Shauna Niequist, author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet

"This book is an argument--Rachel argues with herself, God, the Bible, and Southern fundamentalism. Somehow, though, we are the winners in this argument because we learn and watch as a young woman emerges into a maturing faith that lets the kingdom vision of Jesus reshape her life. I found myself cheering her on." -- Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University

"Rachel Held Evans is brilliant, gutsy, real, and hilarious, and Evolving in Monkey Town impacted my spiritual journey in ways I never imagined. I can't remember a book that I enjoyed reading more, partly because Rachel is a great writer, and partly because she so fearlessly examines the conflict between her inherited beliefs about God and the truth of her own spiritual experience. There's a certain weight to Evolving in Monkey Town that distinguishes it from the other spiritual memoir books out there." -- Jim Palmer, author of Divine Nobodies and Wide Open Spaces

"Can I tell you how much I admire Rachel Held Evans? She is smart, compassionate, funny, and relentlessly inquisitive. It is the questions she asks, not the answers she uncovers, that make Evolving in Monkey Town such a compelling read. There are many good books worth reading, but a truly remarkable book will leave you pondering matters long after the cover is closed. I loved this book. That Evans wrote a remarkable debut at such a young age makes me want to slap her, bless her heart." -- Karen Spears Zacharias, author of Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?: ('Cause I Need More Room for My Plasma TV)

"It's not every day that a book with the word `monkey' in the title challenges and encourages me like Rachel Held Evans' debut. She adds a fresh, courageous voice to the faith-and-doubt discussion, and it's a voice all of us need to hear." -- Jason Boyett, Author, of O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling

"Evolving in Monkey Town is the kind of book I'll pass along. Rachel Held Evans so accurately highlights her struggles to have a genuine, life-changing, world-beautifying faith. I love her heart, her journey, her questions, and her tentative understanding of Jesus. I'll be thinking about this book and its message for months and years to come. An important read." -- Mary DeMuth, author of Thin Places: A Memoir

"When we find ourselves asking tough questions, sometimes we want answers, but many times we just want a friend who is asking the same questions we are. Written with refreshing honesty, Rachel Held Evans' new book Evolving in Monkey Town is going to be that friend for many people." -- Chad Gibbs, Author, of God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC

"Rachel's humorous yet humble memoir of growing up in the evangelical world serves as an encouraging guide for anyone looking to navigate through that particular subculture. The story told here is both faith and doubt affirming, a beautiful reflection of a heart earnestly seeking to follow God fully." -- Julie Clawson, author of Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (June 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310293995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310293996
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (171 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,717 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rachel is an author from the small town of Dayton, Tennessee--home of the famous Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925.

Explore her books and website to find out why she's been featured on NPR, in Slate, The BBC, The Washington Post, The Guardian (UK), The Times London, The Huffington Post, and Oprah.com, among others.

Her website is http://rachelheldevans.com

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 159 people found the following review helpful By Chad Estes on July 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
I recently sat through a sermon where the preacher warned the audience about the things that could get them off course. There were the usual suspects - alcohol, rebellious friends, floozy girls and hormone-charged boys, but there was also a new suspect added to this evil gang--postmodern thinking. He didn't really quantify or qualify his statement. He just demonized the buzzword to his audience, and it got the bobbing head approval from many in the audience that he was looking for.

There is something that Christian leaders need to understand. In the same way that the Church in the past needed to shift from "all mysticism, all the time" to some rational-based thinking (the shift from medieval to modernism) the Church now needs to shift from "all intellectual, all the time" model that hasn't worked for a while, and certainly isn't with the younger generations.

Take for example Rachel Held Evans--this is an under 30 aged woman who grew up with all the modern conveniences of Christianity - Christian home, private schooling, a dad who was a theologian, and won the `Best Christian Attitude Award' in her school four consecutive years.

* This is a girl who wrote out the plan of salvation on construction paper, folded it into a airplane and sailed it into her Mormon neighbor's back yard.
* Rachel learned that abortion was wrong before she learned where babies came from.
* She cried when she learned that her grandfather voted for Bill Clinton, thinking he would now be sent to hell when he died.
* She would move the wisemen away from the holiday manger scenes since the Magi didn't really arrive till Jesus was a toddler in order for the scene to be more biblically accurate.
Read more ›
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
163 of 202 people found the following review helpful By Phee Paradise on August 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have no doubt that growing up in the town where the Scopes Monkey Trial was held had some impact on Rachel Held Evans' outlook on life. But growing up in a Christian fundamentalist environment seems to have been what really shaped her views about life - or her worldview as she puts it. Evolving in Monkey Town is her story about faith, doubt and resolution.

It may be that I don't have the right to judge someone else's faith journey, but I can't review this book without commenting on Evans' judgments of the Christian world she grew up in. She is very critical of this world and her cynicism pervades the narrative. In the first part of the book she makes sweeping statements about evangelical apologetics, a Christian worldview, defense of the faith and Christian political action. She also criticizes children's programs, youth group activities and Christian colleges.

Her arguments didn't have any validity for me until she got around to describing her personal crisis of faith. It began when she saw a news story of the execution of a Muslim woman in Afghanistan. She began to struggle with the unfairness of a woman who suffered on earth going to Hell without an opportunity to hear the gospel. She calls it the Cosmic Lottery. According to her understanding of fundamental Christianity, Christians go to heaven because they happen to be born in a time and place where they can hear the gospel. Others go to Hell because they don't have the same opportunity. In other words, it's the luck of the draw.

The rest of the book is the story of her journey, as she describes it, from one lily pad to another. She made small leaps from one thing she could accept about God to another, resting on each until it made sense.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
35 of 42 people found the following review helpful By R. Hollenbach on June 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
It's a sure sign of God's grace that he would put a journalist with the heart of a poet in a town like Dayton, Tennessee. Rachel Held Evan's Evolving in Monkey Town is a piece of narrative theology, a spiritual coming of age memoir of how a young woman schooled in a bastion of Christian conservatism found her way to freedom of thought and conscience in Jesus Christ.

Dayton took the nickname Monkey Town after hosting the "trial of the century" in 1925 when a high school science teacher named John Scopes was charged with the crime of teaching the theory of evolution. Clarence Darrow, William Jennings Bryan, and a horde of onlookers descended upon the town during that hot summer to debate the big question of the day--a literal view of Biblical creation or the theory of evolution? When the smoke had cleared, Scopes was convicted and fined $100, but Darrow captured the nation's attention, news coverage, and fundamentalism began its long slide into caricature in the national consciousness.

Rachel Evans missed the trial, arriving in Dayton some seventy years later in the late 90's when her father, a Dallas Theological Seminary product, moved the family to Dayton in order to teach at Bryan College (established in William Jennings Bryan's name just after the trial). Evans spent her teenage and college years growing up in Monkey Town, a precocious and insightful girl from a loving household, determined become the best Christian she could in the world she knew. She found herself the commencement speaker at Bryan college, hailed as the girl with all the answers, delivering an orthodox Christian conservative speech while secretly beginning to question her foundations.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews