Left Behind (Left Behind, #1)
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...

Left Behind (Left Behind, #1) Details

TitleLeft Behind (Left Behind, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 1st, 2000
PublisherTyndale House Publishers
ISBN-139780842342704
Rating
GenreChristian, Christian Fiction, Fantasy, Religion, Fiction, Thriller, Science Fiction, Apocalyptic, Spirituality, Novels

Left Behind (Left Behind, #1) Review

  • Brad
    January 1, 1970
    It has been a long time since I read Left Behind, 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). Left Behind was her favourite novel (her favourite book was The Bible, obviously), and she asked me to read it just afte It has been a long time since I read Left Behind, 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). Left Behind was her favourite novel (her favourite book was The Bible, obviously), and she asked me to read it just after we finished Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. So I did. Now back to that memory. Early on I remember thinking, "What a brilliant book this would be if Tim LaHaye was a master of irony on the level of Jonathon Swift." Sure...nothing could save LeHaye's clunky prose, but if he conceived of Left Behind as a commentary on "fundamentalist believers" it would have been a stroke of genius approaching the level of A Modest Proposal. 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 Left Behind 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.
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  • Summer
    January 1, 1970
    I felt left out of the Bad Books Club because I completely failed to get past the first chapter of The DaVinci Code, 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 The DaVinci Code, 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!
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  • Will Byrnes
    January 1, 1970
    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 revealed 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.
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  • Nick Black
    January 1, 1970
    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 -- Henry Miller, The Story of O, Beyond Good and Evil, and for some incomprehensible reason Invisible Man, 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 -- Henry Miller, The Story of O, Beyond Good and Evil, and for some incomprehensible reason Invisible Man, 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, Frank E. Peretti, 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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  • Allen
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Ancient Weaver
    January 1, 1970
    Left Behind is one of the most wretchedly awful books I have ever forced myself to read. If possible, I would give this book zero stars. Only by sheer willpower and by listening to the audio book one short installment at a time was I able to get through this one. Whole essays/rants could be written on how much this book sucks, but I'll limit myself to just a couple observations. The worst thing about LB isn't LaHaye's crazy religious beliefs, it's the fact that it's such a horribly written pi Left Behind is one of the most wretchedly awful books I have ever forced myself to read. If possible, I would give this book zero stars. Only by sheer willpower and by listening to the audio book one short installment at a time was I able to get through this one. Whole essays/rants could be written on how much this book sucks, but I'll limit myself to just a couple observations. The worst thing about LB isn't LaHaye's crazy religious beliefs, it's the fact that it's such a horribly written piece of garbage. The only other books I have read that have been written this poorly are L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth series (which, interestingly enough, are also religious propaganda fiction written by a fanatical religious leader in his declining years). C.S. Lewis was a popular Christian author with whom I often disagree, but Lewis is infinitely more readable and infinitely more enjoyable than LaHaye and Jenkins regardless of whether you agree or disagree with him. Apparently, the writing process for the LB books was as follows - LaHaye would write up a couple hundred page outline of notes and then submit the notes to his co-author Jenkins who would turn these notes into a story. Jenkins set a goal of writing 20 pages a day, which means that within less than one month's time he could crank out a whole book. A real writer worth his or her salt might spend years taking notes, writing, editing, rewriting, editing some more, re-re-writing, etc. It's not surprising then that LB reads like mass-produced crap, because that is exactly what it is - McFiction for the McMasses. No, scratch that. Stephen King used to joke about how his books were the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries (most of what he wrote was at least a hundred times superior to LB). LB is the four-day old, rotting McFiction that somebody salvaged from a dumpster. A final comment on this travesty of the written word - there is an almost total absence of Christian virtue or compassion in LB. The Christian scriptures speak of the fruit of the spirit being love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. None of the "Christian" characters in this book embody these kind of virtues. Christianity in LB is more like a form of Manichean dualism than a religion of faith, hope, or love. The so-called Christians in LB are grim survivalists resigned to a fatalistic worldview of kill-or-be-killed. Their only concerns seem to revolve around taking care of their own and signing up more recruits. It's no wonder that so much of what passes for Christianity in America consists of extremist, right-wing militia groups holed-up in their gated compound mall fortresses rather than genuine religious communities when books like this are what so many "Christians" imagine to be representative of their faith.
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  • Greg
    January 1, 1970
    Most people do now know that I have read 7 of the 13 Left Behind books (12 actually, but then they threw on that extra one, and this is not counting the prequels, the kids versions and the horrendous graphic novels: Armageddon can pay off nicely as long as it's delayed). I don't hide the fact, it just doesn't come up that often. I would have read all of them, but when I went through my Left Behind phase these were the only ones out. The phase lasted I think 2 weeks. The books read quickly. Why?O Most people do now know that I have read 7 of the 13 Left Behind books (12 actually, but then they threw on that extra one, and this is not counting the prequels, the kids versions and the horrendous graphic novels: Armageddon can pay off nicely as long as it's delayed). I don't hide the fact, it just doesn't come up that often. I would have read all of them, but when I went through my Left Behind phase these were the only ones out. The phase lasted I think 2 weeks. The books read quickly. Why?Originally I wanted to read something I knew going into the book that it would be shit. I do this from time to time. I also wanted to read what AMERICA was reading, and right around the time I read this there was a good deal of media coverage on the Left Behind phenomena. I felt disconnected from AMERICA at the time, as I was at Grad School and spent most of my time around then reading Adorno, Deleuze and Levinas. Most of AMERICA wasn't reading this, but they were reading LaHaye and Jenkins tales of a post-rapture world. Once I started reading the first one I got hooked on them, and read all of them that I could. Were they any good? No. They are terrible books. Awful. The writing is shit, their dialog is painfully cookie cutter and except for Rayford every character sounds exactly the same. These two murders of Literature also found it too time consuming to put things like, 'Rayford said', or 'Buck said' after a line of dialog so to follow a conversation again and again I found myself having to count back lines to see who was talking when. That most of their dialog was made up of short declarative sentences made this even more painful (I don't know why but it did). The plot.All the born again christians goto heaven when the rapture happens. The non-believers are all left for the 7 years of tribulation. Everyone gets one more shot to believe in the big G and JC, because they are kind that way. The anti-JC and satan though are out to make life a living hell for these new found believers. Apparently there was a video game that came out, where the Tribulation Force (what a fucking stupid name) got to fight the minions of satan. It looked like a Grand Theft Auto kind of game, and apparently you could kill the evil-doers. Neat, huh?Did this make me a believer?No. What did I learn from these books?That once again outlandish persecution fantasies dominate the thinking of groups of people. This isn't news, but at the time I was drawing interesting parallels between left-wing theorists like Ernesto Laclau, left-wing theorists like Judith Butler, racist writers like George Lincoln Rockwell, and these two bozos. All of them based their entire philosophy basically on the opposition where they precieved themselves to be a minority being threatened, and basically stuck on the idea of us vs. them as a starting point. All three types of people went in divergent directions with their theorizing, but they all seem to revel in being victims. The Republican Party, and right-wing talk show hosts pass almost their entire identity these days on this kind of thought. You'd think that they were being hunted down and killed by raving liberals, instead of living in a country where their brand of thought is pretty much accepted (I'll avoid going off on my thoughts on our two-party system here). Liberals probably kind of do this too, but they at least have the decency to hide their paranoia by attempting to do something that isn't just whining about how they are being victimized (they might point to someone like a tortured prisoner, or the poor to show how bad things are under some conservative. This is going way off track. This book is pop-shit. Sadly this is a mainstream type of thought in this country, a non-thinking brand of religious mania being fed to people through shitty books like this one. Instead of believing in anything this book is getting people to do the old Pascal's wager and put the insurance bet on getting into Heaven, there is nothing here about being any kind of decent human being, just a mindless automaton getting ready to kneel down and pray and preach at anyone until they are brow-beaten into submission. Why three stars? Because they were just so much fun to read in their terribleness, I'll always be a sucker for the rapture stuff christians produce. Good shit.
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    i read this entire series.....almost non stop... they came out with a prequel series, but i figured how many times can you beat a dead horse....This series was really really good. I didnt know how i was going to like it, not being a practicing catholic and all, but even if it doesnt keep to scripture 100%, it gives you enough of an eye-opener....I remember thinking, wow. If this really happened, i would be one of the ones suffering through all this. And what would it take for me turn and accept i read this entire series.....almost non stop... they came out with a prequel series, but i figured how many times can you beat a dead horse....This series was really really good. I didnt know how i was going to like it, not being a practicing catholic and all, but even if it doesnt keep to scripture 100%, it gives you enough of an eye-opener....I remember thinking, wow. If this really happened, i would be one of the ones suffering through all this. And what would it take for me turn and accept god....how many plauges and tribuations would i suffer through....You get to see how the whole world gets affected by this transition period, where the antichrist fights for his throne and god is ever angry.... a war between good and bad....Its long, theres so many books to this series, but if you are the least bit interested in what life would be like once god takes his chosen ones, and the rest of the world is left to fight off the devil/ antichrist.... give it a whirl.I am glad i did!!!
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  • Kelly H. (Maybedog)
    January 1, 1970
    I gave it a go, I really really did. The series is so popular and my ex really enjoys the books (ok, they're the only books he ever read, so maybe that should have told me something) so I thought I'd be open-minded and try it. After all, I did like the movie The Rapture and I love religious science fiction.This, however, is thinly disguised right-wing propaganda. I can respect people who think differently than I do as long as they respect me back. This book does no such thing. They manage to twi I gave it a go, I really really did. The series is so popular and my ex really enjoys the books (ok, they're the only books he ever read, so maybe that should have told me something) so I thought I'd be open-minded and try it. After all, I did like the movie The Rapture and I love religious science fiction.This, however, is thinly disguised right-wing propaganda. I can respect people who think differently than I do as long as they respect me back. This book does no such thing. They manage to twist everything positive in the world today into proof that the devil is afoot (did you know the U.N. is apparently a tool for the anti-Christ?) The plot is bad, the premise, while interesting, is poorly expanded upon and the writing is just bad bad bad.I actually read another book, also by a conservative Christian, on the same theme that was infinitely better. It at least had a plot that could hold its own and left you wondering what would happen next. I wish I could remember the name of it, I'd recommend people who like this sort of stuff read it. At least they might think at some point during their reading.Alas, this book was just inane, offensive, drivel.
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  • Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
    January 1, 1970
    I'd totally forgot that my mom actually paid me 50 dollars to read this book when I was about 11 or 12. Yeah, she's pretty religious. She wanted me to read the second and third books of the series as well. I think I may have lied about reading the second one in order to get another payment. The memory's a bit fuzzy on this. The whole thing is actually kind of unsettling the more I think about it. It's a bit of a drag having parents that really believe in Jesus and heaven and hell.Oh, and obvious I'd totally forgot that my mom actually paid me 50 dollars to read this book when I was about 11 or 12. Yeah, she's pretty religious. She wanted me to read the second and third books of the series as well. I think I may have lied about reading the second one in order to get another payment. The memory's a bit fuzzy on this. The whole thing is actually kind of unsettling the more I think about it. It's a bit of a drag having parents that really believe in Jesus and heaven and hell.Oh, and obviously this book was utterly terrible.
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  • A Rye
    January 1, 1970
    This...should not be considered literature....This...is eschatological pornography...The narrative and dialogue within this series is simply pedestrian.
  • Trent Mikesell
    January 1, 1970
    I think whether or not you enjoy this book depends on what you consider a "good" book. If you think all good books are well written, then this is probably isn't for you. If you think good books have to be 100% accurate, then this book probably isn't for you. However, if, like me much of the time, you think good fiction books should make you WANT to keep reading (even to the point of staying up late), then you may enjoy this book. I remember when this book came out and it sounded interesting. I f I think whether or not you enjoy this book depends on what you consider a "good" book. If you think all good books are well written, then this is probably isn't for you. If you think good books have to be 100% accurate, then this book probably isn't for you. However, if, like me much of the time, you think good fiction books should make you WANT to keep reading (even to the point of staying up late), then you may enjoy this book. I remember when this book came out and it sounded interesting. I forgot about it, but then on Saturday I saw my wife unpack it from a box and thought I would give it a try. It's not the most well-written book out there and it doesn't really jive with my personal religious beliefs; however, it does give an interesting perspective on how others might view the last days. More than anything, it kept me very entertained and kept me interested, which is much more than I can say about the "well-written" book I was reading before this (cough...cough...watership down...cough...cough...).
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  • Robert Beveridge
    January 1, 1970
    Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind (Tyndale, 1995)So I figured after nine years, it was time for me to get around to reading the first book in the bestselling Christian fiction series in history, Left Behind. I had always avoided it, not because of the subject matter, but by and large books that break records tend to be writ large by those with the wit, talent, and grammatical skill of overly enthusiastic six-year-olds. Dame Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steel, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, S Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Left Behind (Tyndale, 1995)So I figured after nine years, it was time for me to get around to reading the first book in the bestselling Christian fiction series in history, Left Behind. I had always avoided it, not because of the subject matter, but by and large books that break records tend to be writ large by those with the wit, talent, and grammatical skill of overly enthusiastic six-year-olds. Dame Barbara Cartland, Danielle Steel, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Sandra Brown, you get the idea. Why should Christian fiction be any different?, I wondered. But despite all that, I dove into it.Expecting the worst may not have been enough. To call the book naïve would be, perhaps, too kind. It uses the conventions of satire without being in any way satiric, treats its readership like total idiots, has all the spelling and grammar mistakes one could possibly want from a mass-produced piece of claptrap, and various other things, all of which I will attempt to make sound as tactful as possible below. But the bottom line, for those who would rather stop reading now, is this: plot's not bad, but execution is some of the worst I have seen outside self-publishing. Ever.Without getting into the theological aspects of the book, it is impossible to write a comprehensive review of Left Behind without at least glossing over some of the more interesting (and less Biblical) assertions made by the authors, the most notable being the Rapturing (for lack of a better term) of everyone under the age of puberty. Hmmmmm. Including the ones in juvenile detention for murder? Okay, we'll drop the point. After all, our society is based (wrongly) on the idea that people can't make up their minds until they reach the magic age of eighteen. At least LaHaye and Jenkins dropped the magic age to twelve, for which they must get grudging respect.But little niggling theological concerns are perhaps less galling than LaHaye and Jenkins' complete and utter inability to ascribe a mote of intelligence to any of their characters, and by inference any of their audience. Not being a Christian and a regular attendee at church, I can't say for certain what the average joe learns about the end times. But even without regular church attendance for the last number of years, I remember enough of the Revelation of St. John from Bible study back in the day to have seen all the major twists coming at least a hundred pages before they actually do. And yet his characters, including the wife and daughter of a fundamentalist, are completely oblivious. Writing a book like this as a mystery/thriller, it seems, was not the way to go. Or if it were, perhaps adding a couple of extras who might have looked like they, too, could be the Antichrist might have helped with the suspense angle. (They do attempt a move exactly like this, but way too late and way too ineffectively.)(review too long; read it in full at Amazon, review date June 7, 2004)
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  • Matt Mazenauer
    January 1, 1970
    I thought at first that I wouldn't be who this book was aimed at, but instead, I found the opposite. Since all the devout Christians have been taken by the Rapture, the protagonists are a mix of atheists, agnostics, Christmas Christians, even seemingly devout Christians who could have been truer. This means that no matter where you fall on the devout scale you have someone to follow through the tribulations fo teh Rapture. There's fun semi apocalyptic planes falling from sky disaster movie after I thought at first that I wouldn't be who this book was aimed at, but instead, I found the opposite. Since all the devout Christians have been taken by the Rapture, the protagonists are a mix of atheists, agnostics, Christmas Christians, even seemingly devout Christians who could have been truer. This means that no matter where you fall on the devout scale you have someone to follow through the tribulations fo teh Rapture. There's fun semi apocalyptic planes falling from sky disaster movie aftermath. There's also the requisite semi-preachy "I'm discovering Jesus" passages, though they aren't as bad as I was expecting (though they are very prevalent, taking up 80% of the last parts of the book). Lastly, there is actually an interesting murder mystery/thriller slant running throughout the whole book, which makes for very good "keep you interested" hooks. And the last 20 pages pretty much guarantee you'll be reading the next book. I'd actually compare the writing somewhat to a bad Stephen King novel. It isn't fine literature, but it's decent enough to get the inventive fantasy ideas across (though don't go expecting King's trademarks or anything, it's a loose comparison). The next book involves more prophesy and more anti-Christ so i know I'll be back.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    if you grew up in church like i did, this first book of the series will terrify you. the rest will keep you spell bound. i would recommend these books to anyone though, they are fantastic and very well written. they reference scripture a lot and i like to book mark those places and go back and read the scripture later. its amazing.
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  • Stepheny
    January 1, 1970
    Growing up my sister and I had similar interests in books. While she read the newest R.L. Stine Fear Street I was holding my Goosebumps book in a white-knuckle grip. As time went on and our interests turned from books to parties and boys, we still shared a love of all things horror. She and I would swap Stephen King books like most sisters swap clothes-unwillingly and with a degree of fear that the other would somehow diminish its quality by merely touching it. There was a period of time where m Growing up my sister and I had similar interests in books. While she read the newest R.L. Stine Fear Street I was holding my Goosebumps book in a white-knuckle grip. As time went on and our interests turned from books to parties and boys, we still shared a love of all things horror. She and I would swap Stephen King books like most sisters swap clothes-unwillingly and with a degree of fear that the other would somehow diminish its quality by merely touching it. There was a period of time where my sister and I grew apart, I suppose it’s a phase that siblings go through- maybe not all, but most if I had to guess. A few years ago, I was browsing the library’s book sale at the Farmer’s Market when I came across a few of the Left Behind Series books. Their covers drew me in. No matter what any book lover says, to say the cover doesn’t impact the reader’s desire is bullshit. (Go ahead, throw your stones, but it isn’t ME you’re lying to.) But there was something else, a tickle in the back of my mind. I grabbed Left Behind and quickly scanned the little blurb on the inside cover. I distinctly remember rolling my eyes at the thought of reading a religious book. I set it down and moved on to other sections.That tickle in the back of my mind never quite left, and every Wednesday I saw those books still sitting there waiting for someone to come by and snag them. Finally, one day it clicked: my sister had read these. Did she like them? Had she gushed over how good they were? Had she warned me they were too church-y? What was it she had said? Well, there was only way to know so I asked her. She said that she read the first 4 or 5 and while they were pretty heavy on the religious side, they were also fast-paced, exciting and a new approach to the “same old-same old” of dystopia. Definitely worth it if they were being sold for $1 a book. Of course, I took her advice and bought them and figured I’d get around to them. There they sat for the last 2 or 3 years. I wanted to wait until I had them all but hey, shit happens, right? Sometimes when you stare at a book long enough if reaches out and slaps you. That’s about what happened here. I’ll be honest here. I’m agnostic through and through. I believe there’s something but my problem is that I tend to want to believe in everything. I can’t accept that there’s nothing, but I can’t accept that there is only one answer to the age-old question. I don’t want to argue with anyone, I don’t want to be disrespectful to anyone or belittle anyone else’s beliefs. I’m a live-and-let-live type. All I ask is that everyone else abide by those rules as well when responding to this review.Rayford Steele is flying a big ol’ plane across the Atlantic when he decides to finally act. He has been daydreaming about his twenty-something senior flight attendant. Sure, they’d had drinks and dinner before a time or two between flights. She casually brushed his arm from time to time as well. But Rayford, being a married man, had never actually done anything wrong. He was receptive of her subtle cues that she was interested in him, but he let his mind do what he didn’t have the gall to do physically. Until now. The plane is set to autopilot and it’s going to be a long time before they touch down in England. When Rayford exits the cockpit to search for Hattie with the intent of finally taking their “relationship” to the next level, he is surprised to run into her…literally. He no sooner walks out and she basically falls into his arms. But something isn’t right.Hattie is scared. She alerts Rayford that passengers are missing. He, of course, reassures her that they must be on the plane. After all, one can’t just exit a plane midflight. But as he begins to check the plane, he finds that she was not mistaken. More than half of his passengers are missing. Their clothes, however, are not missing. As Rayford and Hattie, and other staff members try to keep passengers calm, Rayford goes one step further and begins trying to reach anyone who can help explain this bizarre situation.But deep down in his heart Rayford knows. His wife had told him of this, had she not? Was this not the very reason Rayford had felt compelled to cheat on his wife in the first place? She had recently become so devout it had driven a wedge between her and her husband. At least, that’s how Rayford excused himself in his mind. His wife had been negligent to him in her pursuit of a more spiritual life. The church she went to was full of nutters according to Rayford. They seemed weird and pushy. And if there’s one thing an analytical minded person doesn’t like, it’s being pushed too hard too fast. It was too much and pushed him right out the door of the church altogether. But she had warned Rayford that God was going to rapture his church and if he didn’t follow her lead, he’d surely be left behind. One of the passengers on the plane is Cameron “Buck” Williams, international journalist with a long list of accomplishments that came very early in his career. He has a way with people and a way to get the story out in an unbiased way that people not only respected, but admired. When the plane lands back in the US rather than its original destination of London, the scene is like something out of a movie. There’s chaos and panic. There’s fires, accidents, death and even suicide as people find out that they’ve lost their entire family. Phone lines are a hit and miss and millions of people are all trying to find out what happened to others. Buck, ever the journalist, is listening to the different accounts of what may have happened. Was it aliens? Some weird chemical reaction? Had the Russians developed a super-weapon that vaporized millions of people in one shot? Was it God’s rapture? What could it possibly be?As the story unfolds we find out that millions of people worldwide have vanished with no sound explanation-every explanation seeming as far-fetched or bizarre as the next. We also find out that every child is gone; babies vanished during delivery. Women who were pregnant were no longer. I must say that this was a pretty damn exciting read. Coming from no religious standpoint I read it as a Dystopia and therefore enjoyed the ever-loving shit out of it. Was the writing the best? No. Were the characters fleshed out? Meh. Was it predictable? At times. Did it convince me that God was real? Hardly. But it was written well enough to keep this reader on the edge of her seat…her seat at work, at home, at the dentist…I literally could not put it down. It’s written in split narratives so the suspense builds nicely. There were parts, as I said that were predictable but I was also wrong on quite a few fronts as well. The story develops and you do grow to really care about ~most~ of these characters, if not all of them. If you’ve seen these books around and been teetering on the edge of the fence, I say go for it. I am as cynical as they come and I enjoyed the fuck out of this book. But do yourself a favor and set your personal feelings/beliefs aside and read it for what it is…. a fictional story about the end of the world as we know it. You might be surprised.
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  • Jason
    January 1, 1970
    It would be unfortunate enough were the prose this book's lone problem. But as knuckle-headedly indelicate (Jenkins describing Carpathia as "not unlike a young Robert Redford" on 114 and later Jenkins's character describing Carpathia as "a young Robert Redford" on 232) and heavy-handed ("you might be asking Carpathia to turn against his own angels" on 231) and weirdly unfunny when attempting to be funny (the entire flirtatious cookie exchange between Buck and Chloe: 365-367 and 372-375) and crin It would be unfortunate enough were the prose this book's lone problem. But as knuckle-headedly indelicate (Jenkins describing Carpathia as "not unlike a young Robert Redford" on 114 and later Jenkins's character describing Carpathia as "a young Robert Redford" on 232) and heavy-handed ("you might be asking Carpathia to turn against his own angels" on 231) and weirdly unfunny when attempting to be funny (the entire flirtatious cookie exchange between Buck and Chloe: 365-367 and 372-375) and cringingly pedestrian ("He knew Hattie was not a bad person. In fact, she was nice and friendly" on 89) as the prose is, the book suffers most, perhaps, from its shameless pushing of agendas amidst token attempts to convince the reader that pushing agendas couldn't be further from its intent. At one point in the novel, we learn that Buck had always thought "born-again" to be synonymic with "ultraright-winger" - Jenkins seems to be telling us, in this instance, that such isn't the case, that the two are distinct ideological phenomena or positions. And yet, earlier in the novel, Jenkins forces a disgusting critique of the pro-choice perspective into the narrative, suggesting that doctors and counselors who work in abortion clinics cannot but long for women to decide to abort their babies. The novel is explicit that we needn't subscribe to ultra-conservative ideology in order to be Christians even as it implies that ultra-conservative ideology and Christianity are inextricable bedfellows. (Another example of the novel containing this contradiction can be seen in its sympathy with "stand[ing] up [...] to bigotry" on 429 alongside its subtle bigoted dig at homosexuals on 103: "[Rayford Jr] wasn't effeminate, but Rayford had worried that he might be a mama's boy...")It's just a thudding collapse devoid of imagination, this novel. The characters are cardboard cut-outs. There are flashes of bizarre homoerotic subtext, from the naming of characters (Buck, Rayford Steele, Dirk, Steve Plank) to double entendric prose (e.g. "to stoop to something as tawdry as paying for sex. Had Irene known how hard he was..." on 144, "and the milk making him long for his boy. This was going to be hard, so hard" on 101, "Dirk and Buck had become closer than ever, and it wasn't unusual for Buck to visit London on short notice. If Dirk had a serious lead, Buck packed and went. His trips had often turned into excursions into countries and climates that surprised him, thus he had packed the emergency gear" on 86-87). In the end, the story is little more than a stencil clumsily cut to fit a rigid (and therefore uninspired) reading of Revelation.I'll be taking breaks between books for the duration of the series, lest I develop a need for antidepressants, or a vomit bag (thanks to gooeyness of the burgeoning relationship between Buck and Chloe). (I'm reading them in research.) There must be better fiction than this coming out of the Christian publishing houses?*page numbers in this review are from the hardcover edition...
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  • Rissa
    January 1, 1970
    Finally got a chance to reread this and being old then i was the first time and learning more abour the bible then i did when i first read it, i have more theories and questions but I think the left behind series does a pretty good job of what will happen one day.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I read the whole series but I can't remember which book was which at this point. So I'm rating the series overall as a 4.The story begins the day after the rapture. Everyone who was "left behind" has to figure out what happened. Was it aliens or a terrorist attack? The story unfolds over the books and you get to watch people come to terms with the reality of the situation. You get to see the rise of the antichrist and how so may people don't understnad what's really going on. The series as a who I read the whole series but I can't remember which book was which at this point. So I'm rating the series overall as a 4.The story begins the day after the rapture. Everyone who was "left behind" has to figure out what happened. Was it aliens or a terrorist attack? The story unfolds over the books and you get to watch people come to terms with the reality of the situation. You get to see the rise of the antichrist and how so may people don't understnad what's really going on. The series as a whole was compelling, but I think it is broken up into too many books. Some of them were very boring and did not move the story along quickly enough. But, I did read them all, so I guess they intrigued me to keep going. Actually, I think I kept going b/c I knew how the story was going to end. I really believe that the facts behind this fiction are a true picture of what the Bible says will happen. Praise God I know how the real story will end!
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  • Mont'ster
    January 1, 1970
    First thing (this is very important) This book is a novel. LaHaye has very premillenial viewpoints in all of his writing and he doesn't apologize for that. Read this book for what it is - entertainment, not an eschatology textbook. LaHaye has written many books explaining his views on the end times - if you want the "why" on this subject, almost anything by Tim LaHaye will do; here he is just having fun. This is a fast paced novel so if you read this book expecting a lesson in eschatology, you w First thing (this is very important) This book is a novel. LaHaye has very premillenial viewpoints in all of his writing and he doesn't apologize for that. Read this book for what it is - entertainment, not an eschatology textbook. LaHaye has written many books explaining his views on the end times - if you want the "why" on this subject, almost anything by Tim LaHaye will do; here he is just having fun. This is a fast paced novel so if you read this book expecting a lesson in eschatology, you will probably be disappointed. Students of the Bible who maintain an amillenial view of the end times will probably just be annoyed.In my opinion, book 2 of this series was just as good as this first one. But, even though I enjoyed the entire series, I just don't feel that books 3-12 pack anywhere near the "punch" of book 1 or book 2.
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  • aPriL does feral sometimes
    January 1, 1970
    I wondered what all the social media fuss was about so I finally read this popular novel. I have learned it is based on common evangelical teachings. Fucking hell! I have never read such hateful and ridiculous propaganda.The 'Left Behind' series is pure sadistic filth, disgusting, and an utter waste of time to read unless you are one of those Christians who feels ecstasy over the predicted gory torture and bloody broken-bone and disemboweling horror God and Jesus will personally perform on every I wondered what all the social media fuss was about so I finally read this popular novel. I have learned it is based on common evangelical teachings. Fucking hell! I have never read such hateful and ridiculous propaganda.The 'Left Behind' series is pure sadistic filth, disgusting, and an utter waste of time to read unless you are one of those Christians who feels ecstasy over the predicted gory torture and bloody broken-bone and disemboweling horror God and Jesus will personally perform on everyone you know who are not fundamentalist evangelicals. I can't comprehend how supposedly good people of religious faith believe this garbage. It scares me that many Christian people are this stupid or murderous. That the violent fantasies of torture and death contained in these books is perceived by fundamentalists as righteous justice from a 'savior of love' is fascinating and terrifying.The novels graphically detail throughout all eleven books in the series how handsome gravity-defying shiny-eyed Nick the Devil tortures various individuals and wipes out entire nations through the authority and powers of a one-world government created by him using the military of the United Nations, and through massive earthquakes and deadly storms, and the fulfillment of prophesies such as the conversion of the Jews to Christianity. Tim LaHaye holds off on writing the worst scenes of sadism and cruelty he has imagined until the last book when a giant Jesus races around stomping people with His feet or swatting people like bugs on a windshield or blowing them up as if He is setting off pipe bombs strapped to their bodies. The Tribulation force, the contrite 'heroes' who were left behind in the Rapture, pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray and pray... Our heroes pray seemingly for hours and hours every five chapters or so throughout the eleven novels, as they witness Nick and his allies, and then Jesus joining in eventually, tear apart people in front of them as they travel around the world to....what, stop the apocalypse? Save sinners? As a 'force', all that these heroes accomplish is destroying their knees from extremely physical and emotional praying and putting themselves in deadly dangerous situations while they race about dramatically from location to location maneuvering around destroyed infrastructure. I couldn't see what was their point in traveling everywhere. I am not exaggerating, gentle reader, when I point out the Christian idea of an apocalypse actually appeals to a sizable group of Christians. The prophesy of the Devil murdering sinners in the years (and in the ten books in the series) before Jesus is coming soon to murder us all anyway is beyond me. These stories were no different than the insane teachings of Charles Manson. Can't fundamentalists hear themselves?
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  • jess
    January 1, 1970
    Basically, I thought this was one of the most mind-numbingly idiotic books I have ever read. It was.... a fast read. That is the kindest thing I can say. Oh, wait. No! The kindest thing I can say is that this fulfilled a reading challenge. I basically read it on a dare. If you are ever like, "I am so far removed from religious evangelist people. I wonder exactly how people get sucked into completely illogical, mind-numbingly stupid, culty shit like Christianity End Times Rapture Prophecies, etc" Basically, I thought this was one of the most mind-numbingly idiotic books I have ever read. It was.... a fast read. That is the kindest thing I can say. Oh, wait. No! The kindest thing I can say is that this fulfilled a reading challenge. I basically read it on a dare. If you are ever like, "I am so far removed from religious evangelist people. I wonder exactly how people get sucked into completely illogical, mind-numbingly stupid, culty shit like Christianity End Times Rapture Prophecies, etc" then you can read this book and imagine that you are a person who is such a shallow empty vessel that this book can fill you up.At no point was I ever thinking "Wow, if The Rapture happened in my lifetime, here's how I would react to that situation." or "If this happened to me, here are the people I think would disappear, and here's who would be left, and here's how society would cope." I mean, there was literally never a single moment where I could relate to the plot or characters on any level -- and I want to be perfectly clear, I emotionally relate to many kinds of fiction. Every aspect of the book is a transparently shallow effort to drive home the point of just how HARROWING it would be to be a sinner in the eyes of God, and how much you need to get on your knees and crawl toward redemption. Beyond the whole religion thing, which I cannot emphasize enough how stupid that aspect is on its own, this book is written extremely poorly. It's as if the authors themselves are not only barely literate, but also dumbing down their writing for a far-stupider audience. Dude, there is a scene where someone rewinds a DVD and then takes it out of the VHS player. Seriously. The dialogue could not be worse. I mean, there is literally no way in Heaven or Earth that a book could have worse dialogue than this one. Maybe in Hell, the books have worse dialogue. Oh, maybe reading this book is supposed to simulate the eternal punishment one experiences in Hell. That's the only explanation. The characters are flat, unrelatable, annoying pawns. The internal monologues of the characters are so breathtakingly idiotic, any reasonable person would want to bludgeon these people to death with a Bible, VHS player or any handy, heavy object, and not as a merciful killing to help them find their way to Heaven. What can I say except that the writing is of a lower caliber than free internet erotica, but there is no sex. I wish you could give a book zero stars. Or negative stars. I am stupider for having read this book. It was every bit as terrible as I expected it to be.
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  • Melvina
    January 1, 1970
    Not worth the paper it's printed on, what a piece of shit, I couldn't even finish it. It is THAT BAD. If there was a 1/4 star I would give it that. I read it (or tried to) when it first came out and was causing such a buzz in the Christian community, I wanted to see what it was all about. It was a difficult slog from page 1. It's SO poorly written, the characters are as one dimensional as possible, the dialogue is SO bad, there aren't enough words to describe how B-A-D this book is. The most ala Not worth the paper it's printed on, what a piece of shit, I couldn't even finish it. It is THAT BAD. If there was a 1/4 star I would give it that. I read it (or tried to) when it first came out and was causing such a buzz in the Christian community, I wanted to see what it was all about. It was a difficult slog from page 1. It's SO poorly written, the characters are as one dimensional as possible, the dialogue is SO bad, there aren't enough words to describe how B-A-D this book is. The most alarming aspect is how huge this franchise became. I am dumbfounded - there are actually millions of people who read this and the many sequels, and they LOVED it? God save us.
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  • Jon
    January 1, 1970
    3 stars
  • Terence
    January 1, 1970
    One of my managers at work actually reccomended this book to me after I told I had read 'The Road'. I have to admit that I was skeptical going into this book only because I knew some of the background due to publicity surrounding the movies. I didn't feel much like reading a bunch of quoted Bible scripture - but I was happy to discover that there wasn't much of that in the book.The story focuses primarily around a core group of characters all tied together following a mysterious worldwide disapp One of my managers at work actually reccomended this book to me after I told I had read 'The Road'. I have to admit that I was skeptical going into this book only because I knew some of the background due to publicity surrounding the movies. I didn't feel much like reading a bunch of quoted Bible scripture - but I was happy to discover that there wasn't much of that in the book.The story focuses primarily around a core group of characters all tied together following a mysterious worldwide disappearance of people. Each goes down there own path - and some find God while other are put under the spell of the anti-Christ. The beginning of the story was really riveting and had me hooked. SO many questions presented right away - and even though I knew the eventual answer the authors did a great job of present opposing and varied theories regarding the dissapearances. I wish I had more time to just sit down and read this book all at once but it got spaced out over about 2 weeks. The middle of the story had a bit of filler but the end of the book sucked me back in and left me wanting more. I have the second book on loan from my manager and I am going to try and squeeze it all in before I start my list of 100 Must Read Books. First book up - 'Slaughterhouse 5'.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    The concept is great: what would the Biblical end times prophecies really look like if they happened today? How could the ancient words of Isaiah and Revelation actually play out in today's world? What if the rapture occurred right now?!!While some elements are admittedly intriguing (the anti-Christ's rise to power, the underground believers' economy, the covert operations) one frustration for me is the characters' glaring lack of depth. With maybe a few exceptions, these are flat, unrealistic s The concept is great: what would the Biblical end times prophecies really look like if they happened today? How could the ancient words of Isaiah and Revelation actually play out in today's world? What if the rapture occurred right now?!!While some elements are admittedly intriguing (the anti-Christ's rise to power, the underground believers' economy, the covert operations) one frustration for me is the characters' glaring lack of depth. With maybe a few exceptions, these are flat, unrealistic stereotypes out of the mind of a modern day evangelical Christian. In my experience, real people and real relationships aren't much like those portrayed.Of course, not all literature has to have great character development... and that leads to my second frustration with the series. Like the equally exciting thriller "The Da Vinci Code", these books are mass marketing with a light and easy religious agenda. Lightweight is perfect for spy thrillers or romantic comedies, but when something claims to enhance or debunk Scripture I have much higher expectations. Sadly, many of today's Christians will read these novels and probably never read or study the actual texts they are based on.Perhaps if they were marketed instead as the brain candy they really are I could enjoy them a bit more.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I'll use this one review for all the books of this series I've read (just to save time)and that's inclusive of 1-10. I truly enjoyed them, some a little more than others, but that's probably more of a reaction to my over indulgence than anything on the authors part (I was averaging three or four a week around school, yeah too much, kind of like a kid having too much candy and getting ill) These books are creative, action packed, display the gospel credibly and made me care about the characters. I'll use this one review for all the books of this series I've read (just to save time)and that's inclusive of 1-10. I truly enjoyed them, some a little more than others, but that's probably more of a reaction to my over indulgence than anything on the authors part (I was averaging three or four a week around school, yeah too much, kind of like a kid having too much candy and getting ill) These books are creative, action packed, display the gospel credibly and made me care about the characters. The plot is based on a specific end times view (I forget which one, to be honest when I was reading them I wasn't to interested I just wanted to keep up with what was going on in the story) It has a lot of characters and as the books progress it can get a bit confusing for some people to keep tabs on who, where, what and all that jazz. If you like ridiculously long series, Biblical perspectives and a fun cast of characters these are definitely for you! (just pace yourself, and don't repeat my mistake. Just because they are all in print doesn't mean they need to be read in the same month!)
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  • Efka
    January 1, 1970
    Jeigu, pabrėžiu, jeigu - esate tikintis, religingas ir norite biblinėmis ir/ar apokaliptinėmis ir panašiomis temomis sukalto suspense/detective žanro mišinio su, kaip ir dera (post)apokaliptiniams romanams, distopijos ar mistikos priemaiša, tada šita knyga, netgi gal ir visa serija, tikrai visai patiks. Aš gi ją skaičiau tada, kai dar skaitydavau viską iš eilės visai neatsirinkinėdamas ir kai šlovingas .epub formatas dar neegzistavo bei neatvėrė man neaprėpiamų tolių, tad... Na, sakykim taip - t Jeigu, pabrėžiu, jeigu - esate tikintis, religingas ir norite biblinėmis ir/ar apokaliptinėmis ir panašiomis temomis sukalto suspense/detective žanro mišinio su, kaip ir dera (post)apokaliptiniams romanams, distopijos ar mistikos priemaiša, tada šita knyga, netgi gal ir visa serija, tikrai visai patiks. Aš gi ją skaičiau tada, kai dar skaitydavau viską iš eilės visai neatsirinkinėdamas ir kai šlovingas .epub formatas dar neegzistavo bei neatvėrė man neaprėpiamų tolių, tad... Na, sakykim taip - tai nebuvo pati blogiausia mano skaityta knyga,tuolab, kad ir porą tęsinių perskaičiau, bet tas nuolatinis preach'inimas galiausiai tikrai smarkiai pradeda lįst po oda. Žodžiu, jei einat į bažnyčią ne dėl to, kad "tipo, reikia, ką žmonės pagalvos", tai skaitykit. Jei ne, tai siūlyčiau, nors ir ne itin primygtinai, skipint šitą deal'ą.
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    some of the worst books, ever, god bless them!i derive a sort of masochistic pleasure in reading them. i actually didn't read them, i listened to them. i couldn't actually spend that time simply reading....i was reading and doing yardwork, or knitting, or something productive.these books suck! oh god, do they suck. they had potential for excellent apocalyptic death, disaster and destruction...but they were too heavy on the finding-jesus part, and too light on the destruction part. stephen king s some of the worst books, ever, god bless them!i derive a sort of masochistic pleasure in reading them. i actually didn't read them, i listened to them. i couldn't actually spend that time simply reading....i was reading and doing yardwork, or knitting, or something productive.these books suck! oh god, do they suck. they had potential for excellent apocalyptic death, disaster and destruction...but they were too heavy on the finding-jesus part, and too light on the destruction part. stephen king should have written these.still....one of these days i have to find out what happens when jesus comes back! does rayford steele turn into a beam of light and float up into the heavens? perhaps a pillar of salt? who can know.
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  • Rachel L
    January 1, 1970
    Left Behind is a book based biblically on the interpretation of what the end times could be like. It begins with the calling of all the Christians to join Christ in Heaven. All of the people that are "Left Behind" have to go through the tribulation. Buck Williams experiences what happend when he is flying on an airplane and people disappear only leaving their clothes. The pilot is also a main character who has to try and calm people down when their loved ones have simply disappeared off an airpl Left Behind is a book based biblically on the interpretation of what the end times could be like. It begins with the calling of all the Christians to join Christ in Heaven. All of the people that are "Left Behind" have to go through the tribulation. Buck Williams experiences what happend when he is flying on an airplane and people disappear only leaving their clothes. The pilot is also a main character who has to try and calm people down when their loved ones have simply disappeared off an airplane that is 35,000 feet in the air. An Associate Pastor also finds himself left behind because he was not living a true life as far as his heart not being right with God.After all the characters find their way back to their homes and find that most of their loved ones have disappeared, they eventually meet each other. Together they learn with the Associate Pastor's help what has really happened and how they can help the remaining people come to Christ. They also try to help stop the anti-christ by seeking what God has planned for them and putting that plan into action. This book is the first of several in a series of what is very interesting. It keeps you from putting it down and if you are a Christian, it helps you see how some of the verses in the bible could be interpreted in a very hard to understand part of the bible.
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