Nonfiction of Note-Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain
This is an account of a woman raised in the Westboro Baptist Church and her relationship with the church and her family. Lauren’s father seemed to be the driving force behind their moving and joining the church and I think, when it comes to what I perceived to be his misguided actions and shortcomings, Lauren does a good job of just reporting the facts about her dad. While she also goes into detail about her personal feelings and experiences, she does a great job of explaining how the “church” works.
While there are a lot of events that are recounted in this book that make you shake your head in disbelief, Lauren excellently explained the reasoning behind why the family was so wrapped up in the culture of Westboro and what made her stay as long as she did. She explains people through their actions rather than simply telling her opinions and this lends to a richer tale.
Some people have criticized Lauren because they feel she paints the Westboro Baptist Church in a positive light but I didn’t get that at all. I think that when you are part of a community, a group of people that think and believe like you do, it’s very easy to have “cult-like mentalities” and fear anything outside that world. Also, having friends in this world, not to mention family, is always a strong draw for people and a main reason many people stay in bad situations. Even when some are in a terrible predicament, it’s familiar, and as a result, they justify the negatives or fail to see them altogether.
This is a good memoir and would be interesting to people that may have experienced similar situations but it does have a few problems. However, it is the story of Lauren Drain, and I think she told it well, outlining how people thought, acted, and why they may have been trapped in a toxic, hate-filled environment.