Monday, April 14, 2014

REVIEW--Rapture Practice

Happy Monday, everyone!

I'll admit--I was a little hesitant to read Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler.  I was assigned to read it for a committee and when I first read the description, I thought "Oh great...a Christian bashing book that just wants to be controversial."  Yes, I am a Christian, but it's more than just that.  I just hate reading nonfiction books that tear down others' beliefs (whatever they may be).  But I was SO pleasantly surprised by this book that I'm reviewing it much earlier than I expected (I had some others ready to go first but I've put them on hold)!  And now I want to meet Aaron Hartzler just to talk more about his story.

So enough of the anticipation--let's jump into it!

  • Standalone novel (although I TOTALLY want a sequel!)
  • Nonfiction
The Gist:
Aaron Hartzler grew up in a VERY conservative, fundamentalist Christian home.  He wasn't allowed to listen to secular music, go to the movie theater (even to see a "good" movie because there might be previews for "bad" movies), look at girls on magazine covers (even fully-dressed girls), etc.  He wanted to be an actor, which was fine to his parents as long as he acted in churches or taught in Christian schools.  And while Aaron was ok with these rules/standards as a child, he started questioning them as a teen...and eventually started questioning his parents' beliefs in general.  And he had to choose--to fully obey his parents as their child or risk punishment by making his own decisions.

What I Loved:
  •  This book made me laugh, gasp, huff, and roll my eyes.  I was with Aaron in every situation and fully felt a whole range of emotions.  In other words, I was totally invested.
  • I could relate to Aaron's story--even though I wasn't raised in a home like his.  But I have had certain rules that I didn't fully like and I've been with my friends when they've had to follow very strict rules.  I've been in churches that have discussed what movies you should definitely NOT see (and I felt like I should've worn a disguise when I DID go see one) or what books you shouldn't read.  My husband's family didn't approve of trick-or-treating or Halloween in general.  So I understood Aaron's dilemma.
  • I wasn't bored once with this book, and sometimes nonfiction can drift a little too much for me.  
  • Hartzler alludes to the fact that he later in life came out as a gay man, but he kept is very clean and "safe" in the book (which, as a school librarian, I really appreciate!).
What I Didn't Love:
  • I think this is a compliment, because the only thing I didn't love was that I want to know so much more about Hartzler's relationship with his family today.  He's now a gay actor (and not in church plays)  which I'm sure is a big let-down to his parents.  So I want to know the rest of his story!!  Sequel, perhaps?  Please!!! 
  • And I want photos in the book, too!  I'm dying to know what Aaron's family and friends looked like.  
Favorite quote: "We may be the only house in Kansas City that doesn't have a television set, but we've got something better: my mom."

A really enjoyable read...and very thought-provoking.  Four stars for sure!

 I'll be back tomorrow with an outfit inspired by this book!   See you then!

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