In The Rapture by Liz Jensen, the world is a place of overwhelming heat, frequent natural disasters, suicide bombings, morgues “bursting at the seams” and prophets of doom and destruction. The world’s religions are filled with fanatical, self-righteous and extreme believers. It is truly a world on the abyss of despair and death. Gabrielle, a therapist in some pretty serious need of therapy herself, has began working in a British Psychiatric Hospital after a devastating accident has left her alone and in a wheel chair for life. She is assigned a patient, Bethany, who has been incarcerated in the hospital for the horrible murder of her mother. Bethany has violent detailed fantasies about events that then come true, and when she begins to predict a cataclysm that will change the world forever, Gabrielle discovers that Bethany may be right, and the world is on the edge of the precipice, and tipping faster and faster off the ledge.
I can’t call this a full review, as I only made it to page 116, turned to the back and read the last chapter. That’s when I gave up, and the book hit the official, Did Not Finish list. Liz Jensen has written a novel about a dystopian world, playing into all our fears, both real and media driven. I usually like good apocalyptic/post apocalyptic stories. But I think I like the Hollywood versions though. You know, the stories where the plucky heroine and brave hero manage to survive against all odds, and as they gaze out over the devastation, a little bunny hops through the scene and stops by a little lone daisy, symbolizing the rebirth of the world and the chance to begin anew? Not so much in The Rapture, no bunnies or daisies here, just scorched earth and ruin, a heroine thinking…
“…Nothing but hard burnt rock and blasted earth, a struggle for water, for food for hope. A place where every day will be marked by the rude, clobbering battle for survival and the permanent endurance of regret, among the ruins of all we have created and invented, the busted remains of the marvels and commonplaces we have dreamed and built, strived for and held dear: food, shelter, myth, beauty, art, knowledge, material comfort, stories, gods, music, ideas, ideals, shelter.”
…. Alrighty then, sorta want to go drink myself to death now and I didn’t even read the middle part of the book. And I hardly ever drink. I will admit that this depressing point of view has always been sort of my own perspective when it comes to the horrible disasters that man can inflict on our world. For example, I’ve always figured that if a nuclear bomb was headed in my general vicinity, I’d really rather be right there at the spot it’s gonna hit. I’m a big chicken and instant obliteration seems preferable to me over long-term suffering. (Of course that’s probably from reading On the Beach and Hiroshima as a teenager.)
I also kind of had a problem with the way the author portrayed religion. While I’m not a terribly faithful person myself, I have a certain amount of envy of the faithful. I know there are wacko’s out there, who would cram their own version of truth down all of our unfaithful throats. And said wacko's are sure we’d actually like it if we allowed said cramming to occur. But there are also huge numbers of faithful people, whose beliefs are pretty soundly mocked in this book. Do I believe in the Rapture? Ehh…probably not so much. But am I willing to think that maybe someday I might wake up to a world where my Mom-in-Law has mysteriously disappeared, along with a lot of other very faithful family members? Ehh..maybe, and then I’m going to think to myself, “oops, sure blew that one, didn’t I?” I was bothered by the authors disregard for the levels of faith, bothered by her seeming willingness to lump all believers into the “wacko” category. But again…I skipped about 150 pages, so maybe I’m incorrect in my assumptions.
I’m also getting tired of the Chicken Little “the sky is falling” and we’re all gonna die news from global warming proponents. I’m not saying global warming isn’t real, don’t yell at me. I’m merely remembering dire warnings from years past, remember? The Coming Ice Age? Zero Population Growth? Summer of the Shark? Bird Flu, when regular flu is killing 36,000 people a year. So, yeah, I’ve sort of got to the been there…heard that.. time in my life. I guess my whole problem with global warming is that a whole lot of people are making a whole lot of money off it, and its been so politicized. I instantly mistrust any science that is A. Making craploads of money for a select few, and B. Highly politicized. (okay, I’ll confess to a C. as well) C. Media driven. (not that I don’t trust either politicians of any stripe or the media, oh wait, that’s right, I don’t trust any of them. Not one teeny weeny itty bitty bit. It’s my libertarian/contrarian leanings showing themselves, sorry, can’t help it)
Enough already! I’m ranting, but like the old song goes, “It’s my blog and I can rant if I want to”, (blog/party; cry/rant; close enough)
I’m pretty sure I’m in a minority though, lots of readers have really loved this book. At Amazon, it's got a four star rating, people really like it. I'm the odd duck here. You should meander over to visit Bev at Merryweather’s blog for a more positive look at the book, but for as me, I’m on to other books!