Unfollow is an exceptional book: a loving portrait of a fanatical organisation. In fact, “family” may be a better word in this case: Fred Phelps was Megan’s grandfather. He founded the church in Topeka, Kansas, in 1955 and it consists primarily of Phelps’s family. Now, apparently, it has just 70 members.
No amount of compassionate reflection, however, can change the fact that Phelps-Roper and her siblings grew up in an abusive environment.
It’s a gripping story, beautifully told, and one offering an extraordinary insight into the minds and thoughts of rational, bright, generally decent people who have been brainwashed into believing crazy, cruel things. Phelps-Roper’s years of voracious reading were not wasted. In clear, readable prose, she moves between remembered scenes, vivid descriptions and reflection to paint a fascinating portrait of the family she loved and had to leave.