We’re getting pretty close to the end of the first Left Behind, which is a series that apparently have like four hundred books in it. We’re not interested in reading all that. Ariel and I have been talking and making, but we’re curious what our readers want.
Leave a comment if you have more to say about your choice! Like, if you know that the next book is unintentionally hilarious. Or if it’s boring. That’s good to know!
Left Behind: Chapter 22
Chapter 22 kicks off with what totally wasn’t supposed to be, but totally unmistakably sounds like, a dick joke.
Buck did not sleep well. Partly he was excited about his morning surprise.
But no, Buck is actually not sleeping well because he’s thinking about God. Which seems like a weird call for a Christian novel to just kind of tack on in the fourth-last chapter after 21 pages primarily focused on inane political drama. But then again, better late than never is pretty much the message here anyway. Maybe this won’t actually sound that weird.
If this was true, all that Rayford Steele had postulated— and Buck knew instinctively that if any of it was true, all of it was true— why had it taken Buck a lifetime to come to it? […] None of this would have made a bit of sense to him just days before, and now, for the first time since Israel
Okay, wait, I’m sorry, a random pilot talking about Christianity was more significant than what happened to Buck in Israel? Why don’t you go over what exactly happened again, Buck? This will totally explain why that was less convincing than listening to Rayford.
The Holy Land attack [that] had been a watershed event in his life [where he] had to acknowledge that something otherwordly – yes, supernatural, something directly from God Almighty— had been thrust upon those dusty hills in the form of a fire in the sky.
Hm. This is odd. Somehow “otherworldly intervention in the form of unexplainable weather phenoma taking out an entire military fleet with exact precision” still sounds more convincing than “Rayford made a good point”.
And he had known [then] beyond a doubt for the first time in his life
BUCK, YOU’RE NOT HELPING.
Why, Buck wondered, hadn’t that made more of an impact on his own introspective story?
Buck is also having trouble sleeping because he’s now unsure if it’s possible to write this story without getting into his personal feelings and opinions. Which sounds like a genuinely interesting conflict! I rather enjoyed reading about this for the one and only paragraph that it featured in this chapter before totally disappearing.
The story skips ahead to Rayford and his feelings before the flight. Rayford reflects on how he feels like a failure. Nothing new here.
Meanwhile, Buck is undergoing his “surprise a girl I met once by getting a flight next to her on a flight she didn’t tell me she was taking” plan. Unsurprisingly, the book does not see how fucking creepy this is. And it definitely doesn’t not sound creepy.
Buck waited until everyone else had boarded.
Although it sort of briefly picks up on what a stupid plan this is.
He assumed she would turn to glance as he sat next to her […] He sat and waited, but she did not turn.
For extra fun (?), pretend that this is actually a Stephen King novel and the killer hasn’t quite snapped yet.
When Chloe didn’t move even to watch the safety instructions, Buck grew impatient. Still, he didn’t want to reveal himself. He wanted to be discovered. And so he waited.
I mean, seriously.
Her reaction was more than worth the wait. She folded her hands and drew them to her mouth, her eyes filling. Then she took his hand in both of hers. “Oh, Buck,” she whispered. “Oh, Buck.”
Unfortunately, Chloe quickly clarifies that she does not see it the same way.
Chloe quickly let go of his hand as if catching herself. “I don’t mean to act like a schoolgirl”
We had a bit of fun with this “lol, Left Behind doesn’t realize how creepy this scene actually is” angle. But what if I told you it gets way weirder. Because this is Left Behind, a Christian novel about the rapture, so the obvious angle it has to somehow work into this would be…
“[H]ave you ever received a direct answer to prayer?”
Buck shot her a double take. “I thought your dad was the praying member of your family.”
“He is,” she said. “But I just tried out my first one in years, and God answered it.”
So for my money, I’d say there’s two extraordinarily weird angles to this scene that weren’t totally thought through. First, of course, is that getting God into this conversation gives us really forced and weird dialogue:
“Buck, this is too special. This is the nicest thing anyone’s done for me in a long time. […] I wasn’t talking about you, Buck, though this is sweet. I was talking about God doing the nice thing for me.”
Buck couldn’t hide his embarrassment. “I knew that,” he said.
The second point is the big one, because let’s think about just how weird it is that – in this book written by two men – a man is the answer to a woman’s prayers about the direction of her life.
“If there is a God and if this is all true, wouldn’t he want us to know? I mean, God wouldn’t make it hard to learn and he wouldn’t, or I should say he couldn’t, ignore a desperate prayer, could he?”
“I don’t see how he could, no.”
“Well, that’s what I think. So I think it was a good test, a reasonable one, and that I wasn’t out of line. I’m convinced God answered.”
“And I was the answer.”
“And you were the answer.”
The end result of this conversation is Chloe deciding she needs to tell her dad she believes, and that she’s a born-again Christian now. Because a man stalked her movements and secretly got a seat next to her on an airplane, which is apparently a sufficiently convincing act of God.
So what’s a good way to wrap up this chapter, then? Obviously a joke where Ray and his daughter are mistaken for a sugar daddy and his arm candy!
In a few minutes Chloe stepped into the aisle, and Rayford stood and embraced her. They both appeared overcome with emotion. A middle-aged couple across the aisle leaned out and stared, brows raised. The captain noticed, straightened, and headed toward the cockpit. “My daughter,” he said awkwardly, pointing at Chloe who smiled through her tears. “She’s my daughter.”
The couple looked at each other and the woman spoke. “Right. And I’m the queen of England,” she said