2020 One Book South Dakota ‘Unfollow’ has Arrived, Available for Statewide Loan
Book Clubs: Only $50 to Borrow Copies for Your Whole Group
The 2020 One Book South Dakota "Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church" has arrived at the South Dakota Humanities Council office and is available for loan!
The book, by South Dakota author Megan Phelps-Roper, was announced in early December as the 2020 One Book South Dakota during a celebration at the South Dakota Humanities Council office in Brookings. Also revealed was the Humanities Council's 2020 Young Readers selection: a bind-in of three books from the "Bink and Gollie" series by 2020 Young Readers One Book author Alison McGhee (co-written with Kate DiCamillo). Those books will arrive in early 2020.
Meanwhile, SDHC welcomes book clubs to check out the common read, which is a tale of reinvention of Roper's life-altering decision to change her ways and leave her family — her infamous and outspoken family, known nationwide for raucous protests at funerals of U.S. soldiers — for a quiet life in rural South Dakota.
Since 2003, the One Book program has encouraged people across South Dakota to read and discuss the same book through the year. You can borrow the One Book from the SDHC lending library for an application fee of just $50 and, optionally, host an SDHC scholar to facilitate your discussion. The South Dakota Humanities Council's packaged reading program "Book Club to Go" is designed for book clubs organized by individuals, libraries, museums, and other non-profit organizations.
About the Book and Author
The granddaughter of infamous religious zealot and Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps, Phelps-Roper grew up protesting funerals with the extremist group before leaving the Westboro Baptist Church — and by extension, most of her family — behind in 2012 and eventually moving to Clark, where she lives with her husband Chad and daughter Sølvi.
"Unfollow" chronicles her life in Kansas from childhood through adulthood, her departure from the church during her mid-20s, and the unlikely series of events that led her to South Dakota.
Phelps-Roper said after the unveiling that she's eager to share her story with fellow residents of the state she now calls home.
"It was actually six years ago yesterday that I made South Dakota my home and I'm so, so excited to share with the beautiful people of this state how the power of civil dialogue changed my life for the better," she said to the audience members who attended the Dec. 3 unveiling. "So, thank you again so much for this opportunity and I cannot wait to get started."
2020 One Book South Dakota author Megan Phelps-Roper signs copies of her book, "Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church" after it was revealed as the 2020 One Book South Dakota Dec. 3.
Now an educator on topics related to overcoming ideological extremism and improving communication across religious and political divides, Phelps-Roper has spent much of her life in the national spotlight, from appearing on national news programs like "The Tyra Banks Show" during her protest days to performing a Ted Talk with more than eight million views after leaving the church.
Having been featured on "Good Morning America" and excerpted in People Magazine, "Unfollow" is on the national radar. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, which said, "Phelps-Roper's intelligence and compassion shine throughout with electric prose ... She admirably explicates the worldview of the Westboro Baptist Church while humanizing its members and recounts a classic coming-of-age story without resorting to cliché or condescending to her former self."
The 2020 One Book South Dakota is "Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving the Westboro Baptist Church." The book, shown above on the shelves at the office of the South Dakota Humanities Council in Brookings, is available for book clubs and other interested groups to borrow for just $50.
Check it Out Today
If you'd like to join bibliophiles around the state who are reading and discussing the One Book South Dakota leading up to the 2020 South Dakota Festival of Books Oct. 2-4 in Brookings, click below to check out the One Book South Dakota for your book club and to find out more about the program.