$14.95 a month

Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.95

Buy for $24.95

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

The activist and TED speaker Megan Phelps-Roper reveals her life growing up in the most hated family in America

At the age of five, Megan Phelps-Roper began protesting homosexuality and other alleged vices alongside fellow members of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Founded by her grandfather and consisting almost entirely of her extended family, the tiny group would gain worldwide notoriety for its pickets at military funerals and celebrations of death and tragedy. As Phelps-Roper grew up, she saw that church members were close companions and accomplished debaters, applying the logic of predestination and the language of the King James Bible to everyday life with aplomb - which, as the church’s Twitter spokeswoman, she learned to do with great skill. Soon, however, dialogue on Twitter caused her to begin doubting the church’s leaders and message: If humans were sinful and fallible, how could the church itself be so confident about its beliefs? As she digitally jousted with critics, she started to wonder if sometimes they had a point - and then she began exchanging messages with a man who would help change her life. 

A gripping memoir of escaping extremism and falling in love, Unfollow relates Phelps-Roper’s moral awakening, her departure from the church, and how she exchanged the absolutes she grew up with for new forms of warmth and community. Rich with suspense and thoughtful reflection, Phelps-Roper’s life story exposes the dangers of black-and-white thinking and the need for true humility in a time of angry polarization.

©2019 Megan Phelps-Roper (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

More from the same

What listeners say about Unfollow

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,070
  • 4 Stars
    152
  • 3 Stars
    47
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    2
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    974
  • 4 Stars
    119
  • 3 Stars
    35
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    959
  • 4 Stars
    123
  • 3 Stars
    33
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • E
  • 10-10-19

So poignant, so well written, so moving

I never leave reviews, but felt compelled to share my thoughts on how important the message of this book is, and point out how beautifully Megan Phelps-Roper expresses her journey within its pages. In many ways, this book is a devastatingly compelling argument for nuance and open mindedness, and it begins by asking that the reader take an open minded look at how the Westboro Baptist Church came to undertake its actions in the first place. I honestly couldn't stop listening and binged the entire book within 24 hours. To hear Megan's kind and generous fleshing out of how such radicalized positions came to seem reasonable within her family, to her descriptions of the seeds of her certainty's unraveling, to the lessons she draws about the arrogance of narrow mindedness and being certain that our ideas are more right than anyone else's... Megan is a testament to growth mindset if I have ever seen one. I was raised without religion in a bastion of liberalism, and from my own (far distant) lens found so many lessons about how any clinging to 'rightness' is dangerous, no matter which angle you're coming from. At so many points throughout the book, I wanted to hug her, applaud her, and be her best friend. I am truly impressed not only by the journey she undertook, but also by the self awareness it must have taken to convey that arc so poignantly. Well done, Megan. I eagerly await what you publish next.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thank you, Megan

I found myself laughing and crying right along with her. She, unlike myself, is a descriptive wonderful, thoughtful writer. I feel lucky to have had a chance to hear the story thay she has told. I will get the hardcover, just to put it on my bookcase. Thank you, Megan.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Insightful, honest and engaging

I briefly interacted with Ms. Phelps-Roper a few years ago, regarding her mother. I was critical and she was, understandably, defensive. I encountered her mother, Shirley Phelps-Roper, once, while working as a journalist. For reasons that were obscure — perhaps for no other reason that I lived in a liberal community — the Westboro Baptist Church had elected to protest in my hometown. The group assembled near a main thoroughfare with their tiresomely inflammatory signs, protected by a phalange of police officers. Across the street, locals held what amounted to a street party in opposition, dancing and laughing while dressed in colorful outfits (I particularly remember the young woman in a tiger suit and Bill Clinton mask; it was the '90s). I crossed the street, notebook in hand, and explained to the officers that I was a reporter from the local paper, seeking comment from Shirley, the evident leader of the group of women and children protesters. They let me through. As I approached Shirley, she began to scream words akin to, "Get away from me! Stop tormenting me! Officer! OFFICER!" while not allowing me to explain that I was a journalist. When she finally paused for breath, I hurriedly asked for a comment. The instant she understood I was a journalist, her demeanor shifted from red-faced, combative shrieker to calm, well-spoken interview subject. Her words of explanation, uttered pleasantly, were seemingly rational and considered, in great contrast to the florid, angry language of the group's infamous posters. That day, I realized that, despite their pretentions to being "godly" people compassionately warning a fallen world (as Calvinist-type thinkers, they assumed that their god had created the vast majority of humans throughout history only to see them burn in torment for eternity, a "just" outcome for an all-powerful deity), they were the most human of creatures. Whatever their initial aims, I came to see them as primarily driven by the dopamine/adrenaline/endorphin rush they surely obtained by placing themselves in such situations and thereby "earning" publicity from journalists like me. I came to believe that, despite the pleasant and happy protest across the street, the best way to diminish their reach and influence would be, as mom used to advise, to simply ignore them. In "Unfollow" — like everything else in this book, the title is pitch-perfect — ex-Westboro fanatic Megan Phelps-Roper both confirms and upends my impressions from that long-ago day. She assures readers that her family — the church is almost all close family — truly does have the courage of its convictions, and yet it's clear from her riveting account that they also fell into many all-too-human traps. In viewing themselves as literally the only people with the "correct" view of the cosmos and God, they were simply exhibiting homo sapiens' deeply animalistic tribal tendencies to an extreme, carving out a tiny "us" against a vast, historic "them." Amusingly, to me, their unconscious enactment of genetic preferences is a bright, flashing signal that they are mere human animals. (By the way, I love the question posed by a gay acquaintance of Megan's near the end of the book: If the U.S. Constitution, written less than a quarter of a century ago in a modern language and dialect, is so complicated that it leads to constant, varied interpretations, how can it be that the Bible, written thousands of years ago in archaic languages, is so readily subject to anyone's "correct" interpretation?) Although it's sometimes hard to stomach, I like that Megan portrays her family inside and out, as both truly loving to one another (leaving, for now, the abuse) and viciously un-neighborly to the rest of the world. That *she* views them this way makes perfect sense, and makes apparent my error in challenging her about her mother a few years ago. Shirley, too, is a victim of a cult driven by abuse, fear and bad ideas. Megan Phelps-Roper is a very good, clean writer, and in this book, at least, an absolutely perfect narrator. I've done audio book narration and it's hard work; she has the voice for it and I suspect could make a living at it, if she wished. "Unfollow" is among the top five books I read or listened to this year. If you are interested in cults and understanding how humans become trapped in them, and seeking a story of a genuinely intelligent woman who found her way out — through the compassion of others and the inevitable overstepping of Westboro's male leaders — I highly recommend this book. I don't flatter myself that Megan will read this review, but if she does, I want to offer my apologies for criticizing her mother as I did a few years ago. I understand them both much better, now.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Just amazing. Redemption and love and grace.

What a wonderful listen. I loved everything about it. Megan brings us into her typical day and life as part of the Westboro Baptist Church. More importantly she brings us into her everyday life of a family full of love, hugs, fun bedtime rituals, meals and everyday life. That everyday life shows us why she mourned as she left her family. The book shows sides of nature vs nurture and how brave she was to question and think about what she was taught and believed. It’s amazing. All the while she was a special person. I love the story of redemption and grace especially from those she showed no mercy. Please take the time to listen and think. Think about both sides of the coin. She was brave and those she hated showed her mercy and kindness. Thank you Megan!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unfollow

Brilliantly written book and beautifully narrated. This story is one of sadness and of great happiness. Megan‘s story draws you in and does not let you go until the end. This book needs to be read by all so you can understand the insight of a church and the bravery it took to leave and stand on your own.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An exceptional book

This is an exceptional book. For me it started slowly but became increasingly interesting as I continued to listen to it. The changing relationships among people were compelling. The relationship of people to ideas was thought-provoking. I found it helpful to slow the narration slightly from a speed of 1 to a speed of .9 I hope there will be a sequel. It reminded me of 2 books: Educated and Rising Out of Hatred.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An unforgettable listen

I listened to this book all the way through well through the night. It is a wildly intriguing personal tale. Easily the best audiobook I have ever listened to.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

To cheer myself up during this COVID powerlessness I thought I would listen to a gotcha expose about WBC and sneer at their vile. Nope. MPR humanizes the proudly demonized in a way that both respects their victims and beliefs. I found this book more touching and teaching than anticipated, and loved it

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

This was a pretty good look into the Westboro Cult

The author tells her story about growing up in the Westboro Cult by giving anecdotes, and then details the revelations that led her to leave the cult. I'm not sure what inspired the author to write the book - maybe so people will think her family isn't too bad, maybe a need for the author to explain herself. Idk. Some of the parts where she was reading text messages, and other parts, seemed to give importance to trivial matters.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story

This was the audio version of a page turner. Megan has a beautiful narrating voice that helps set the tone of the book and guides us through her journey. Fascinating story.

1 person found this helpful