Sunday, November 4, 2012

Left Behind

Language: 1. The book relates that people swear (but doesn't go into the words). Beyond that, there is no bad language.
Violence: 7. There are some detailed scenes, but nothing to worry about, unless it's for small children.
Sexual: 2. Basically, all it does is tell of attraction.
Rating as a book: PG-13.
Rating it would be as a movie: PG-13.
Therefore: Mature tweens are the youngest who should probably read this.

  I have wanted to read Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins's Left Behind for quite a while. When I got it for free at our library's annual book sale (!!!) I was happy. I finally read it, and I can say that it did not disappoint.
  So, I believe the book was thought out by Tim LaHaye and put down on paper by Jerry Jenkins (correct me if I'm wrong). The two main characters are Rayford Steele and Buck Williams. Rayford, a pilot for Pan-Continental Airlines, is a shallow forty-year-old contemplating an affair. Cameron "Buck" Williams, senior writer for Global Weekly at just thirty years old, is chest deep in the politics of the day. They were fairly well thought-out, but certainly neither of them had the most personality I've ever seen. (I think the deepest personality I've met is Anne Shirley.) A good reason for that is probably the emphasis on politics and the Bible.
  Only a few pages into the book, a "cataclysmic" event causes millions around the globe to disappear. While some pound space alien theories, electricity, or the technology of the day, Rayford Steele is horrified with the knowledge that the Rapture has occurred and he has been left behind. Buck Williams has no idea what has happened, but as a writer he is on top of it immediately as Global Weekly's next cover story. But what about the United Nations, which is about to transfer to a global currency? Who is the Romanian who suddenly stepped up to presidency without election? Both men set out to find answers, and they both inevitably come to the truth.
  Rayford's search leads him to the church and salvation. Amazingly, a pastor there, Bruce Barnes, was also left behind; unsaved by grace, and merely a Bible-quoting sinner, he has become a true Christian following the Rapture and proceeds to lead others to Christ as well. He teaches the "core group" of Christians at New Hope Village Church--those really serious about commitment to Jesus--of the end times and what happens after the Rapture. Faith and salvation are spread over the book like a comforter, subtly calling readers to action now while there is still time.
  Left Behind was a great read. To criticize, there were few things: I would have preferred that it was written in this century, but that's definitely not the fault of the authors. It was published in 1995--seventeen years ago--when at least some technology was different and the world was not quite as scary. I feel something else lacks in the book but somehow I can't place a finger on it. Only one time does Jenkins head-hop, and I think it was on accident. Possibly a bad editing job or something.
  The above has shown Left Behind to be a book of quality (and quantity--it's over 400 pages long!). The characters are pretty deep, though not as deep as I would have liked them. The plot is good and original--really, who would have thought of writing a book on the events following the Rapture? To most people, the idea is probably too scary. It might have benefited from subplots that were a little less identifiable early on (you can tell how everything's intertwined quite easily). Its Christian message could not be better. The only thing that is a true warning is this, and it's fairly paltry: You might be creeped out. I was. You might question your salvation. I did. Remember grace. Then evaluate if you're saved.

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