What happens when the person you’re becoming isn’t the one your family wants you to be?
When Aaron Hartzler was little, he couldn’t wait for the The Rapture: that moment when Jesus would come down from the clouds to whisk him and his family up to heaven. But as he turns sixteen, Aaron grows more curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn’t want Jesus to come back just yet—not before he has his first kiss, sees his first movie, or stars in the school play.
Whether he’s sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can’t be found in the Bible. He discovers that the girl of your dreams can just as easily be the boy of your dreams, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.
In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey from devoted to doubtful, and the search to find his own truth without losing the fundamentalist family who loves him.– Goodreads
While Hartzler and the author of this review are friends, this did not factor into said review, and although I do like him, he did go to UofA.
What happens when you grow up in a family you don’t fit in? That is how Aaron Hartzler grows up, he never really believed he fit in with them, and in the heartbreaking Rapture Practice he tells his story (which I have read multiple times by now.) Hartzler grows up expecting Jesus to come to earth and to pick him and his family up and take them to heaven. In part because they are Godly people, but also because Hartzler knew he was always being watched, by his parents, and God. It was also understood that not all families are like this, including his own: his own grandparents and cousins did not live to as strict of rules that Hartzler’s family did. And he wants them to go to heaven, so why can’t he do the same things they do?
From childhood through high school graduation, Rapture Practice takes us on what it’s like to be different in a family
who love you, but love you in a different way than what makes sense. Aaron’s parents say no to such things as TV, because there is un-Christian things on it, he can’t listen to Amy Grant, because although Christian, she went mainstream and enjoys a glass of wine, which is a no-no. His grandmother, who he loves and adores lives with his grandfather and they watch TV which features half naked women. Does this mean that they aren’t going to heaven, too? What I found fascinating, was throughout Rapture Practice, I found nothing that Hartzler was interested in doing to be bad or evil. He was a typical teen who happened to go to a very strict high school, and then ultimately an even stricter high school, which I wasn’t sure was possible, and then he explained it. And it was possible. Hartzler even gets a core group of friends who love him for him, which includes him seeing movies, drinking underage and wanting to act in plays. Things that his parents don’t understand, because although they love him, they are worried what this means for the future of him. And they clearly do love him, it is clear throughout the novel, even when his heart is bleeding, they just do not love him in the way that Hartzler wishes they would love him.
The book ended and I was wishing for more. Every time I’ve read Rapture Practice, I have wanted more. Thankfully, I don’t need to know if he’s okay. He’s better than okay. He lives in the LA area (a dream of his!) He’s acted (another dream of his! Look for him in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia you won’t regret it!) He has a fiancé (which I’m not spoiling for anyone. This book ends at high school graduation, and twitter is good for life updates.) It’s also good for bonding as you can see to the left. The important part of this book is the whole thing. Rapture Practice is full of hope and growth, from Aaron. I’ve read this book multiple times and every time I end it I have a happy sigh and makes me want to shove it into the hands of every teen I meet, which is okay, because I’m a librarian. It’s okay to be a book pusher sometimes. Particularly for non-fiction that reads like fiction.