Thursday, April 12, 2012

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins

Left Behind (Left Behind, #1)Left Behind by Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Clearly, this isn't literary fiction, so I wasn't judging it based on great writing. It's all plot plot plot, but I thought it was off to a good start with an exciting start right at the beginning of the apocalypse with the rapture. I love the television adaptation of Tom Perrota's The Leftovers (though I haven't read that book yet) and the beginning of this book had a lot of similarities so I was psyched.

However, about halfway through the book, the author gave up on any attempt at character development or even-handed consideration of people that don't share his religious views. One of the main characters, now a convert, constantly berates himself for "thinking he was so smart" and missing the message of Christianity. Besides being needlessly offensive to nonbelievers, he misses the point of his own plot. If the rapture happened, then there would be some evidence of the truth of Christianity- perhaps not logically definitive evidence- but certainly enough that many nonbelievers could take the leap. Yes, they might berate themselves for not having taken a leap of faith sooner, but I doubt they would take on such embarrassing views against intellectualism if they didn't already hold such views.

Here's another example. The brief discussion of abortion is deeply unthoughtful. Even if, hypothetically, abortion providers were motivated by money instead of the right of women to bodily autonomy and medical treatment (the premise of the conversation in the book), that wouldn't explain all the non-abortion provider pro-choice people. The suggestion that being pro-choice somehow makes you desire great quantities of abortions is not thoughtful or empathetic to people who don't share the author's views, and that makes the characters poorly developed. Most pro-choice people I know would support policies that would keep women from wanting or needing abortions but are opposed to policies that restrict medical decisions and ultimately put women, including some who are already mothers, in jail. This part really ruins the book for me even more than all the other bad writing.

Also, the whole UN plan is nonsense. I guess that we've all learned the hard way that if a personality is sufficiently charismatic to some that person can push through nonsense policies but this has never been successful on a worldwide basis to date.

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