Left Behind

Left Behind

An airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun......

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Title:Left Behind
Author:Tim LaHaye
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Left Behind Reviews

  • Will Byrnes

    Try to forget for a minute that there are people who take this stuff literally. The book actually works as a sort of sci-fi novel, the kind Robert Heinlein might have written for adolescents. The characters are paper thin and the truth is

    to true believers. It is a scandal that this stuff sold so many copies. But it was worth the read to know what all the fuss was about. Entertaining, sure, but still a major eye-roller.

  • Brad

    It has been a long time since I read

    , but I have one interesting memory of reading it that remains clear and is, I think, worthy of discussion. I'll get to that memory in a second, but first I must digress.

    I read this book for a student of mine. She was a very nice lady who came into my English classes worried for everyone's souls (and I say this with all honesty).

    was her favourite novel (her favourite book was

    , obviously), and she asked me to read it just afte

    It has been a long time since I read

    , but I have one interesting memory of reading it that remains clear and is, I think, worthy of discussion. I'll get to that memory in a second, but first I must digress.

    I read this book for a student of mine. She was a very nice lady who came into my English classes worried for everyone's souls (and I say this with all honesty).

    was her favourite novel (her favourite book was

    , obviously), and she asked me to read it just after we finished Blake's

    . So I did.

    Now back to that memory.

    Early on I remember thinking, "What a brilliant book this would be if

    was a master of irony on the level of

    ." Sure...nothing could save LeHaye's clunky prose, but if he conceived of

    as a commentary on "fundamentalist believers" it would have been a stroke of genius approaching the level of

    .

    Then I started reading it that way, letting myself imagine the story as a brilliant commentary, and it made the otherwise execrable experience thoroughly tolerable. I knew it wasn't so, and I couldn't really force myself to "believe," but it sure was more fun. I laughed more than I might have, I giggled more than I might have, and I actually wasn't moved to throw this book in our backyard firepit when I finished.

    Indeed, when this piece of fundamentalist-pop-fiction kindling was over, I eschewed the flames and dropped it on the book swap shelf of our English Department. Drop a book, take a book is the theory, but there wasn't anything there I hadn't read before, so I simply left my copy of

    for some poor, unsuspecting student to stumble upon.

    And the next day it was gone.

    I wonder who took that book? Probably a member of LeHaye's choir, but I'd love for one of my colleagues to have picked it up and read it with the same guilty pleasure I did. Perhaps then I wouldn't feel so sheepish.

  • Summer

    I felt left out of the Bad Books Club because I completely failed to get past the first chapter of

    , so I read this to keep up. And boy, is this one horrible book! And there's at least 11 more of them! (N.B. - I will not be reading the rest of the series)

    The writing is beyond terrible. In a story that presents so many interesting narrative possibilities - the grief of those "left behind" after The Rapture, the breakdown of society after a massive tragedy, the personal pain and so

    I felt left out of the Bad Books Club because I completely failed to get past the first chapter of

    , so I read this to keep up. And boy, is this one horrible book! And there's at least 11 more of them! (N.B. - I will not be reading the rest of the series)

    The writing is beyond terrible. In a story that presents so many interesting narrative possibilities - the grief of those "left behind" after The Rapture, the breakdown of society after a massive tragedy, the personal pain and soul-searching of those who believed they had faith but who were found wanting - and ignores them all in favor of people sitting on beds and talking on phones. The authors say that there is violence and mayhem, but don't show any of it. The main characters' conversions to Christianity happen as almost an afterthought - there is little description of the feeling of God's love, of how they will change their lives and live by the teachings of Jesus. The book could have been about 300 pages shorter for all it has of any substance, or it could have remained the same length and added some actual plot or character development.

    Oh my, the characters. Our Two Heroes are named Rayford Steele and Buck Williams. The current president is named Gerald Fitzhugh (totally not supposed to evoke John Fitzgerald Kennedy, I'm sure!). Williams's editor is named Steve Plank, and I presume that if this naming scheme keeps up, later volumes will include media mogul Robert Mudrock and sassy reporter June Heat-Register. There are two women in the book, and both of them are boy-crazy and even find the time to get makeovers in the middle of the horrors of the post-rapture world. They are also wholly without personality, but so are all the male characters. The Antichrist shoots his two closest business partners in order to command respect, and then uses his evil hypnosis skills to make everyone in the room forget about it. So what was the point? There's also a great throwaway line about how much Planned Parenthood loves its filthy abortion money, and how they're so sad they no longer have any babies to abort (no mention is made of reproductive health, etc.)

    Theologically, this book is on shaky ground as well. There is the aforementioned avoidance of actually describing the process of converstion, and there is little Biblical evidence given for the Rapture itself (an event which many Christian sects do not believe in and see no textual evidence for). Questions are brought up (in the book!) about God's seemingly abusive role in forcing people to accept Jesus's sacrifice and love for humanity by secondhandedly killing scores of people in the aftermath of an event where drivers of cars disappeared suddenly. If the seven years of tribulation are supposed to give the unbelievers a second chance, how about all of those poor souls who died in accidents, or who were stricken with heart attacks? These questions are not answered in the slightest, and I was slightly thrown off by the book's refusal to capitalize "Him" when speaking of the divine. It's an ostensibly religious book without any real faith.

    This could have been such an interesting story, but the writing is so utterly awful that the series stands as dangerously bad. It does nothing to address the mystery of faith and the horrors of the Apocalpse - it could be any third-rate spy thriller gathering dust on an airport bookshelf. And it's so damnedly popular!

  • Allen

    I usually have students fill out a card at the start of the semester with information like their major, where they went to high school, etc. One thing I always ask is what book they read most recently. The Left Behind series started showing up on those cards a lot a few years ago, so I decided to read the first one to see what they were like.

    This is absolutely the worst-written book that I've ever picked up. The dialogue is painful, the characters are wooden, the descriptions are hackneyed. In

    I usually have students fill out a card at the start of the semester with information like their major, where they went to high school, etc. One thing I always ask is what book they read most recently. The Left Behind series started showing up on those cards a lot a few years ago, so I decided to read the first one to see what they were like.

    This is absolutely the worst-written book that I've ever picked up. The dialogue is painful, the characters are wooden, the descriptions are hackneyed. In every way this book is just too dreadful to wade through. I skimmed it, right through to the unintentionally laughable end where the main characters are striding side by side down the street to go take on the evil-doers as the "Tribulation Force".

    I now have a benchmark for the scale of books -- this is the bottom. Apparently you can't give a book a rating below one star.

  • Nick Black

    My mother demanded I read this in my senior year of high school (I was no slouch reader or anything, I assure; this was indeed punishment for a handful of books the parents had found, and thrown away --

    ,

    ,

    , and for some incomprehensible reason

    , which all ought indicate the parents as not particularly illiterate people themselves (aside from the Ellison, their Index Librorum Prohibitorum at least evidenced a self-coherent ethos), and g

    My mother demanded I read this in my senior year of high school (I was no slouch reader or anything, I assure; this was indeed punishment for a handful of books the parents had found, and thrown away --

    ,

    ,

    , and for some incomprehensible reason

    , which all ought indicate the parents as not particularly illiterate people themselves (aside from the Ellison, their Index Librorum Prohibitorum at least evidenced a self-coherent ethos), and give a hint as to the bewildering nature of my formative years).

    It was quite possibly the very worst book I've ever choked down, and remembering these pages of absolute shit brings the bile to my throat to this day. Baby-Sitters Club books (of which I read about fifty, and refuse to ever list on GoodReads) had more complex and well-developed characters. The previously best-known novelist of the evangelical Christian-slash-eschatological scene,

    , absolutely puts LaHaye and Jenkins to shame, and has a series of childrens' books with less presumptuous plots. What epic trash.

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