I don't read deep theology books. I also don't read the popular 'it' books in Christian circles. Too much buzz about a book and I dig my heels in, determined not to succumb to the hype. Thus, I have never read The Prayer of Jabez, The Purpose Driven Life or The Shack. I haven't read Velvet Elvis, Sex God or Blue Like Jazz. I've also never read anything by Joel Osteen, but that might have more to do with the fact that he has too many teeth gleaming from the cover of his books.
This book is not deep. If it doesn't become clear from her preface, the opening sentence of "Monkeys make me nervous" should give you a hint, one that is further confirmed by Evans' description of using apologetics in fourth grade to defend the existence of Santa Claus
And yet, this book IS deep because in a voice that is both witty and intelligent Evans tells the story of how she began to question the very fabric of all she had been taught, to go beneath the surface apologetics, the pat Christian answers, the formulas, the guilt trips and really wrestle with the deeper questions.
What happens to people who die without ever hearing of Jesus?
What happens to faith if we accept the premise of evolution? Does it have to fall apart?
What is the Biblical worldview and are we supposed to be living it?
Are apologetics the best way to evangelize?
The beauty of this book is that I felt that in many ways her story was MY story. Raised in the certainty of 'the way things are', shattered on the rocky ground of a world that contained questions my upbringing couldn't answer. Taught that there is a right and a wrong for every situation; skirt length, political party, self-expression, career choice, church denomination. The list was endless then and it seems to keep getting longer. I have run aground on some of those questions and I still struggle with finding the answers.
This book will not give you answers. If you want a deep, learned discourse this book is probably not for you. If you want to be told that x or y is right or wrong, this book will leave you frustrated. You may even throw it against a wall or declare Evans a heretic. What this book will do is give you the freedom to ask the questions. It will point you in the right direction, give you a gentle nudge and then leave you to work it out with God.
I suppose if I gained anything from Evolving in Monkey Town (beyond that nudge to keep asking questions) it was confirmation of just why I do not gel with the idea of apologetics. It was a reminder that people want to see Christ living in us; that arguing has rarely, if ever, led anyone to the knowledge of a God who loves them. It was a conviction that having a string of 'Best Christian Attitude' awards is not enough if I don't have love. Read this book at your peril, it may turn some of your preconceived notions on their heads. Ultimately, that is a good thing.