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Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature Paperback – January 13, 2009
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As if it's not bad enough being ostracized by her church, her friends, and even her parents for blowing the whistle on an ugly campaign to reform a supposedly gay schoolmate, Mena finds herself embroiled in further drama when the unit on evolution comes up in high-school science class. Brande spares absolutely no sympathy for Mena's persecutors, but the tale is rescued from turning into a catchall antifundamentalist screed by providing an unusually appealing supporting cast. There's a classmate who introduces Mena not only to his unconventional family but also to the twin forbidden pleasures of kissing and Lord of the Rings. There is also a decidedly no-nonsense science teacher whose face-off with a powerful local preacher makes memorable reading. Readers will appreciate this vulnerable but ultimately resilient protagonist who sees no conflict between science and her own deeply rooted faith. Peters, John --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
a bit like the movie "saved" in some ways, the narrator has just (as the book begins) been excommunicated from her church and youth group for being the whistle-blower over her church and youth group's campaign against a gay kid in her school. her whistle-blowing, in the form of an apology letter to the boy after his attempted suicide, has resulted in lawsuits against the church and pastor.
in the midst of this lonely ostracism (coupled with a massive silent treatment from her parents), the narrator struggles to redefine her faith. at the same time, she's getting caught up in a new polarizing campaign against evolution being taught in her biology class.
this would be a wonderful book to read with a group of christian teenagers. all kinds of great discussion could result: loneliness, love, articulated faith, the gospel, evolution and faith. a great read for teenagers and adults who care about them.
While this is a novel that deals primarily with the actions of a teen girl whose "friends" from her church now hate her, it also is much more. The reading is fun and easy and the story well told and well thought out. In addition, there are life lessons such as:
*You shouldn't lie to your parents, even when they are wrong
*Parents can be wrong...it happens
*Your "friends" may not really be friends after all
*There is a big world out there...go explore
That is but a sampling of what can be taken from this novel. It is not, however, written in a preachy or condescending style and can be enjoyed by all ages.
I highly recommend this novel for everyone. It is great entertainment and fun and will certainly stir up debate in the family about the subjects it covers.
I also found the back story of how a bullied young gay teenager attempts suicide very timely. I have felt for a while now that we need to take a good look at the reading and screen viewing preferences of the kids who choose to kill themselves in the face of relentless bullying. Yes, the online bullying is 24-hours and it's harder than it used to be to ignore them - BUT - I suggest that, other than a tendency to depression, the kids that choose to commit suicide read manga, watch anime - and find nihilism appealing on the spiritual level. I am of the mind that some of those kids - many of those kids - think it's okay to kill themselves because they misunderstand Buddhism, much in the same way that many Muslims are persuaded that's it's okay to commit suicide for Allah. The first suicide bombers were the Japanese during WW2, after all. So, when Robin Brande here makes the connection between the BIBLE and why so many of these kids hang themselves, for me, that is illuminating, to say the least.
While I didn't care much for some of the language used by the "bad" kids in the story, I see how the author may have felt it made her characters more real - and the only issue I really with the book is a minor one: to lump all Republicans with supporters of Intelligent Design supporters, and all supporters of Intelligent Design supporters with gay-bashing seems to me a bit extreme, and rather makes the author guilty of the stereotyping she is clearly against throughout the book. Nevertheless, this is a terrific book, one that every school should have, along with the school rule book! Said daughter's review follows:
"'Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature' by Robin Brande was an awesome book about how to mix God and evolution in just the right blend.
"What would you do if everyone in your now 'old' life hated you? Granted, you *did* just get their parents sued for millions of dollars...but still, the first day of high school could have been just a *teensy bit* nicer.
"Welcome to Mena Reece's new life. Her parents hate her, her pastor in her old church hates her, everyone at church hates her, her used-to-be-best friend hates her ... all because she told the truth. About how the pastor had said that gay guys are going to go *straight to hell*, and how everyone at church started up as well, and how that gay guy tried to commit suicide because of what they said ...
"Luckily, science class is pretty cool - Mena's never really liked science that much, but this year, she has a genius (literally) for a teacher, and her lab partner, Casey, is a mixture of super-smart, kind and funny (not to mention hot), as well.
"Unfortunately, when Ms Shepherd, the science teacher, starts teaching the class about evolution, Old Life people start to kick up a fuss. A BIG fuss. Soon, Mena is caught up in the war - but can she let go of her past and help what she *knows* is right? Can she do her science project without drooling too much over her lab partner? And how the heck is she going to keep her parents from finding out that she's part of a revolution, may have a boyfriend, just watched 'The Lord of the Rings' (which is supposed to be full of *Satan and devilry*!) with said maybe-boyfriend, and that she really, really likes her life now? Except the whole lying-to-parents thing - that part sucks.
"Okay, as a rule, I'm not usually a religious freak - I have never read the Bible voluntarily, I only go to church once a week, I refuse to watch Church and God-y type movies and shows, and I *love*
'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Harry Potter.' So when I first figured out (on, like, page 5 or so), that this book was a bit of a God book, I was a little bit tempted to stop reading. Luckily for me, I decided to keep reading. This book is *soo* good - and yes, I might say that for every other book I've ever read, but I still really, really liked this one. It has a bit of science (a subject that, as much as it interests me, I am totally horrible in), a *bit* of religion, a bit of 'The Lord of the Rings' ( my favorite movie was totally 'The Return of the King'), a bit of romance and a bit of puppies. What could be better?! :-)
"I would give the book five stars: two stars for the plot, two stars for the characters, and one star for the cute title, which got me hooked from the beginning. :-)"
Most recent customer reviews
Mena (our main character) did something, that she thought was right and as a consequence she became outcast from her social group.Read more