We can choose our friends, we can choose our romantic partners. But we cannot choose our family.
Libby Phelps grew up in the most notorious family in America: the Westboro Baptist Church. The granddaughter of the group’s founder, Fred Phelps, Libby towed the family cause until she reached early adulthood. Then something changed. Her life and her life altering decision is detailed in the book, Girl on a Wire: Walking the Line Between Faith and Freedom in the Westboro Baptist Church. Ms. Phelps, along with journalist Sara Stewart writes about her growing up inside the Westboro Baptist Church and the slow shift she made towards the outside world.
While the book is a little slow at some points, it is also quite fascinating. I found her story to be fascinating because only someone who has grown up in a group like the Westboro Baptist Church can fully explain what it is like to live that life. It is also fascinating because her story speaks of the duality of freedom of speech. On one hand, we can say what we like without fear of recrimination. But on the other hand, what we say can be construed as hate speech by someone else.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely, because it speaks of the sometimes diving duality of what it is like to live in a democracy, especially a democracy where differing opinions are bound to happen.