This book was recommended by Miss Anderson over at The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shh…, in fact she listed it as her favorite read of 2011…and she had me intrigued.
This book is about Kevin Roose a journalism student that attends the ultra-liberal Brown University who decides to spend a semester “studying abroad” at ultra-conservative Liberty University (the home of Jerry Falwell). Very multiple reasons I wanted to read this book. 1) Most people consider me ultra liberal 2) I have a few ultra conservative friends so I thought I could probably relate to this 3) Religion fascinates me and 4) Liberty University is all of 90 minutes away from me and I have a few friends who went there.
Mr. Roose transfers to Liberty and entirely submerses himself in the “Liberty Way.” He follows their rules, lives in their dorms and even attends prayer circles and as a result he truly finds himself becoming friends with many of his classmates. His writing is honest, and for that he should truly be commended because I’m sure that as a college student (he was a senior when the book was published) there were somethings he confesses to that he probably wouldn’t want everyone knowing (can only imagine what this did for his love life). His candor, however, is what makes him so likable. He truly tries to experience Liberty and to understand the people that go there. As a result he discovers that even though religion and politics may divide them, Liberty students are very much just college students trying to find their way…and deep down, we all have quite a bit in common.
I truly adored this book, and can see why it made Miss Anderson’s top read. This is one of those books that I think should be required reading for everyone. And, I think all college students should have the privilege of going to another school for a semester that is completely different than theirs. What a better world would we live in if everyone learned compassion for those who believe differently than us.