Rapture Practice was last modified: May 9th, 2014 by Jenny Sawyer
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Posted on by Jenny Sawyer
Title: The Hired Girl
Author: Laura Amy Schlitz
Title: Bellweather Rhapsody
Author: Kate Racculia
Author: Aaron Hartzler
Genre: Memoir (YA)
Year published: 2013
Aaron Hartzler’s upbringing might be classified as unusual. His parents were loving, his home life was stable, but everything revolved around one thing: Jesus. That’s right. Hartzler was raised in a hardcore fundamentalist Christian home, where movies and secular music were strictly forbidden.
In Rapture Practice, Hartzler tells the story of his coming-of-age—of questioning his faith and his parents, and the pain, heartache, and (ultimately) freedom that came from doing so. Most welcome are the humorous yet nuanced portraits Hartzler paints of his family. Even though he no longer agrees with their beliefs, Hartzler discovers that part of growing up is learning to appreciate and love people, in spite of their differences.
If you’ve ever felt out of place, like you didn’t belong, like you were weird or abnormal or just plain strange…then you haven’t felt anything compared to the protagonist of Rapture Practice, an equal parts humorous, and heart-wrenching, true story.
Most people would look at Aaron Hartzler’s upbringing and call it…unusual. See, Aaron grew up in a fundamentalist Christian household where secular music and movies were forbidden, and where his parents ruled with an iron rod.
This was especially difficult for Aaron, who went from a gung-ho Christian soldier, to his parents’ biggest disappointment: the kid who snuck into movies, and who questioned the very faith he’d once found so rock-solid.
Sure, Aaron’s childhood might sound crazy to most of us, but one of the things I loved about this book was the way it didn’t present things in black and white. Aaron’s father can seem like a tyrant. But Aaron’s story is also one of a deeply loving family, and two parents whose methods he doesn’t ultimately agree with, but on some level comes to respect.
Aaron’s story of feeling like an outcast, even within his own family, is more extreme than most. But the lessons he learns about being himself, even while loving the people who raised him, are an example that offers perspective—and hope—for all of us.