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Books–Left Behind October 20, 2006

Posted by caveblogem in Books, luck or time, Other.
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Boy, do I feel stupid.  I am a member of Paperbackswap.com and bookmooch.com because I read a lot.  Anyway, I ordered this book, thinking that it was fiction.  Apparently there is more than one book about the end of the world called Left Behind.  (Apparently I wanted the one by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, the first in a series of fictional works that has been very popular.  It may also suck, but at this point I do not know that for sure.)  The one I ordered is called Left Behind, by Peter and Patti LaLonde.  I’ll review it to spare anyone else the torture of this book.

Imagine a book about biblical events like rapture and the time of tribulations written in the second person in a style that begins as a story, but almost immediately becomes a sort of FAQ.  Now imagine that it was written by people with a loose grasp of how the different tenses of Standard Written English may be used.  Yes, it makes some difficult reading.  Not that they had an easy task before them. 

The book starts out as a sort of extended letter from a couple who was swept up in the rapture to all those unfortunates who remained behind.  But as an evangelical work, its main goal is to convince the reader to accept Jesus as their personal savior before it is too late.  Thematically it is grounded in the here-and-now.  In terms of plotting, it takes place in the future.  But since it was written in the early 1990s, much of its “future” is actually our past, or possibly our present.  Much of the book’s “support” comes from biblical sources and biblical “scholars” like Hal Lindsey (who I always confuse with TV’s Barney Miller, Hal Linden).  So you have to add at least two temporal modes and you have to be really careful with the originals.  The writers did not take such care. 

And the chapter titles and subheads often take you out of the action entirely and are sometimes simply pointless.  Consider my personal favorite subheading of all time: “We Say All That To Say This” (37).  I’m going to modify that one and use it in my correspondence from now until the end times as a replacement for my frequent ellipses. 

Another problem is the writer-based prose.  The title of chapter five is a good case in point for this.  Chapter five is called “What Are Some Of The Excuses You Will Hear For The Vanishing?”  Now if this were really intended to be a FAQ-style document, the title should be “What are some of the excuses I will hear for the vanishing?”  But that shouldn’t side-track us from the fact that this simply is not one of the questions I would ask anybody.  There are chapters devoted to Star Trek and Whitley Strieber as well.  Not really what I’d be thinking about w/r/t the end times.  But I say all that to say this: Do not buy this book, even if you believe in this stuff.  I’m sure that there are books that are much more accessible and less confusing. 

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Comments»

1. PF - October 25, 2006

I guess its time for me to read the series; it’s a fascinating subject for me however I am reluctant to read it. I guess I have a preconceived notion that the book is written only from an American Christian point of view. Does the author of the original Left Behind acknowledge other religions? Approximately 70% of Americans claim to be Christians so if you loose an optimistically large portion of that number America would be decimated in population. From a world perspective you’re talking a much lower number.
PF

2. caveblogem - October 25, 2006

I can’t speak for the popular Left Behind series of books. I have ordered the first volume through Paperbackswap.com and hope to get it soon. This one, however, written by the LaLondes, is pretty pessimistic regarding the state of American Christianity and has a pretty narrow vision of what it takes to be a Christian. I got the impression that they expected a lot of so-called Christians and Christian churches to be left mostly behind. And they seem to think that there will be whole portions of the globe that will pass through the rapture pretty much untouched. Here in my office there are several Jewish people, a Hindu, a rabid Atheist, several Eastern Orthodox, and a smattering of Catholics, and myself, an agnostic Unitarian Universalist. If I read the LaLondes correctly we will have to read about the rapture on the internet to know anything had happened that day.


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