25 of 40 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church (Hardcover)
I looked forward to reading this memoir--I love exposes of public figures and religious groups--but walked away very, very disappointed in both Lauren Drain and the story she tells.
First, the story is poorly-written in a juvenile style. Its narrative is extremely slow, dull and repetitive. Lauren claims she was a straight-A student, but neither she nor her ghostwriter write like one.
Second, the Westboro Baptist Church is such an easy target; writing a juicy tell-all should be like shooting fish in a barrel. Instead, it tells us nothing about the WBC that the world doesn't already know: they're hatemongers. They stage outrageous pickets to provoke angry public reaction. They're an ugly, perverted caricature of Christianity. We already knew all of that before reading the book. I wanted REAL insight - for example, where does the WBC gets its millions? There are rumors that the WBC uses litigation as their main fundraising tool. Is this true? How does the church grow, if they frequently banish its members and forbid outside marriages? Lauren's memoir frankly doesn't contain any useful or interesting secrets that the world needs to hear. It's just a collection of gossipy teenage anecdotes.
Third, and most importantly, as many other reviewers have pointed out, Lauren hasn't changed her views at all. This is what saddened and disappointed me most. She reveals in the epilogue that she's still a homophobe, still anti-abortion, and that the WBC pickets were some of her fondest memories. She still misses her "friends" in the church and wants her family to take her back. I kept waiting for Lauren's epiphany moment--where she calls out her sociopathic family and reveals the WBC to be a cult--but it never came. Throughout the book, she speaks warmly of "Pastor Phelps" and goes to great lengths to explain why his views made sense to her. Her banishment occurred because she began corresponding with a fellow hatemonger she met on YouTube who wanted to join the WBC. After her banishment, she moved in with him. Not only hasn't Lauren recanted her hateful beliefs, but she is still living those beliefs after her banishment. I sincerely hope Lauren Drain grows up someday, and perhaps writes something better then what she churned out here.
If you want a good 'leaving a religious cult' memoir, I highly recommend "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop or "I Fired God" by Jocelyn Zichterman, both of which are more harrowing, sincere, detailed, and intelligently-written than this one.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 13, 2013 3:49:56 PM PDT
L. Jerome says:
Too bad that she hasn't given up on WBC's bigoted views. Perhaps she'll evolve further and puts all that foolishness behind her. I can completely understand not being able to give up all of your beliefs overnight after being indoctrinated for your entire life in a belief system -- even one as repugnant as WBC's.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 15, 2013 2:22:34 PM PDT
Dan Bogaty says:
Thank you for an excellent review.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2013 10:00:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2014 6:38:30 PM PDT
JR Corry says:
It's a ridiculous review; she wrote thoroughly on how she'd questioned their motives and hypocrisy even some time back, and even recently has had trouble shedding the poisonous fear they gave her.
Posted on Jul 19, 2013 5:25:35 AM PDT
She has a right to her personal views. She is no longer out spewing this hate and trying to force/control others to believe the way she does.
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