Anthony Gramuglia's Reviews > Left Behind

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye
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's review
Feb 21, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: religious, shit
Recommended for: A wall, though I'm sure even it would give it back
Read in April, 2009 , read count: Once

And people act like Twilight is bad.

Twilight is Shakespeare compared to this garbage. There are few things worse than a book that preaches something good, something that should be a fairly strong and benevolent message, through hate, bigotry, hypocrisy, and...just does it in an inhuman way. I'm not a super religious person, so some may argue that I'm not the right audience for this type of book. However, religion is fascinating to me. I love reading books pertaining to religion and mythology, and, upon hearing this novel was basically a reinterpretation of the Book of Revelation, I was thrilled to read it. However, it was then that the biggest problem this book had reared its head.

There is no God in this religious book.

That is not to say God doesn't appear. The Inferno didn't need God, nor did The Exorcist, but they are both some of the best books I ever read. What I am saying is that there is nothing holy, nothing sacred, nothing remotely religious about this book. This book, and by extension the series it spawned, is a platform to force hatred of other people onto everyone. And when I mean force, I mean it. A good message is suggested by the text, maybe once or twice directly mentioned to draw attention to the theme. This book drills it into your head with a jackhammer, and, after it tattoos its message into your subconscious, runs over your brain with it. For a book dealing with the salvation of man, it sure manages to piss off anyone who isn't a particular type of Protestant.

It also helps that the story of Revelation has nothing to do with the end of the world, but rather with the conflict early Christians had with the Roman Empire. It was an allegory. The horrifying concept of rapture was never present in the original text. However, artistic liberties are what makes fiction great. It would've been fine to include every element from Revelation and any random legend associated with the Abrahamic apocalypse if it was well-written...but it isn't. At all.

The main characters are loathsome. Aside from merely being Mary Sues, the story goes out of their way to show how important they are, how they are such great people, and how the world needs them to survive the seven years of suffering before God fixes everything (so there isn't much tension knowing how the story is going to end before the first book of a way-too-long series starts, is there...?). However, if these people are so great, why were they left behind in the Rapture? Well, even though the story itself demonstrates how selfish and horrible these main characters are, only the Strawmen point out their flaws, and, since they're either bad guys or nonbelievers, that means that we as readers are supposed to dismiss their arguments on principal.

Well, actions speak louder than words, and it isn't enough to SAY someone is a saint.

Of course, it would also be nice to show ANYTHING in this epic, since most of the constrained epic focuses on a description-less world that, for all I care, could take place in the Twilight Zone. At least Twilight Zone characters feel organic and real. However, you'd think having millions of people vanish in an instant, including all the children regardless of whether they've been born or not, might startle a few people. After all, ONE GIRL BEING POSSESSED renewed the faith of most of the characters in The Exorcist, and it wasn't even clear what was wrong with Reagan for half of the book. There are miracles, Acts of God, and then there's...Left Behind.

Maybe I'd be able to forgive the book if its villain was in any way good, but no. The Antichrist is a more appealing character than the main heroes, but then again the Antichrist also is as interesting as a cardboard cut-out of Edward Cullen. He isn't threatening, isn't intimidating, and isn't even all too memorable.

Not only that, but the book has a hateful message. Everyone who doesn't believe EXACTLY what the main character believes is damned for hell, and they're allowed to disregard your opinions as much as possible despite the fact that, moments before, they were in your shoes. So, apparently, religion turns you into a dick, unless you're a strong, confident woman, in which case you become a house wife. And then you'll die. Oh, if you aren't the main characters, you die a horrible death. It's almost a habit the writers get into over time. Whenever a character may be more interesting than the heroes, or at least have some depth to explore, they're unceremoniously killed in an anti-climactic way, and seldom mentioned ever again. That way, that potential is swept under the rug and forgotten about quickly. No need to worry about complexity or nuance or quality!

The only reason this book sells is because people fear God. This book manipulates people on a core level, exploits their anxieties about the end of days. However, it doesn't exploit them to relay a strong message, nor does it exploit it to attract the readers to a compelling world with fascinating characters. No, it just uses it to sell more books. And that is mean.

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Lily Like ive said, LB kids (teens) is millions x better

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