Left Behind by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Buck Williams is a reporter in Israel to interview the developer of a fertilizer that makes the desert bloom. While he’s there the Russians launch a nuclear attack that is thwarted by hailstones, lightning bolts, and earthquakes. There are no casualties and the Israelis score a net gain by recycling rocket fuel. Buck senses divine intervention but falls short of accepting Christianity. Later he is on a flight to London piloted by Rayford Steele who is thinking lascivious thoughts about his first flight attendant, Hattie Durham. He credits this peccadillo to the fact that his wife has become obsessed with religion and has become somewhat withdrawn. In the dead of night, over the Atlantic, Hattie informs her captain that a large percentage of passengers have vanished right out of their clothes. Because of his wife’s harping, Rayford guesses the cause of this bizarre event. Naturally, Buck was not one of the chosen. Simultaneously, a charismatic politician from Romania mesmerizes the United Nations, the media, and pretty much the whole world. Who can this be, boys and girls?
Personally, I always thought it was a poor decision when God stopped giving signs. Burning bushes, floods, ladders, and wheels in the sky are highly compelling. When salvation began depending strictly on faith, things became complicated. On the other hand, the vanishing of a large number of Christians, including all the infants and young children, would be a very persuasive sign, but it didn’t convince all that many of those who were left behind. Fictionalizing the Second Coming is a premise with potential. At the same time, it is a story that has already been told, therefore, it is difficult to generate suspense. Left Behind is a book that had a hard time engaging this reader. There were long, preachy passages that did nothing to advance the story and violated the first rule of good writing—show, don’t tell. I suspect that the fact of there being two authors contributed to the duality of style. The sections concerning the Rayford Steele character left me flat and unable to identify with him. Buck Williams is a more fully developed character, and the parts devoted to him were easier to read. I have to say, it was a relief to reach the end.
I don't even want to give you a link.
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