The End is Now by Rob Stennett The book is about the small Kansas town of Goodland that is obsessed with the Rapture. They believe the Christians in their town will be taken up to meet the Lord before the rest of the world, there is a rapture museum in town, people say good-bye by saying, "see you later, if the Lord tarries", a radio play in the 1930's dramatized the idea that citizens of Goodland were to be the first one taken up in the Rapture. They think they are special in the eyes of God. With such a wealth of potential satirical material available it's too bad this novel falls flat on its face. The theology, which borders on blasphemy is that God needs to practice the Rapture, a precursor to the second coming, on a focus group in a small town in Kansas, to make sure He "doesn't scoop up some Buddhists or Muslims, or Mormons by mistake" when He takes it worldwide. Never mind the insults to Christians in this book, and there are many, and even setting aside the theology, the reader is left with manic stick figure characters acting in unbelievable manners. In other words, it's a bad book without adding the burden of bad theology. The novel follows the actions of the Henderson family as the clock winds down to the supposed time of the Rapture (6:11 am, next Sunday morning). These characters are given motivations that have the weight of cotton balls. Emily, the daughter, wants to be homecoming queen (and she's already been elected, so no suspense there). Jeff, the father, wants to protect his son from being interviewed by the press. Amy, the mother, wants her son to be interviewed by the press. Will, the son who prophesied when the Rapture will occur after having a vision in a cornfield, wants to stock up on frozen dinners. Most of the book is a narrative of the voices inside each characters head. If you were to remove all the introspective passages the book would be 75 pages long instead of 327 pages. Consider over 250 pages spent describing what the characters are thinking about. The characters are highly dysfunctional and their thoughts change on a whim. This does not make for a fast-paced story. Instead it leads to boredom because these characters are stick figures, you don't care about them, and you really don't care about their irrational scatter-brained thoughts. The old storytelling maxim "show, don't tell" is lit on fire, stomped into ashes, thrown in the toilet, pissed on, then flushed down the toilet. There are numerous "are you kidding me moments" in the book including Jeff packing up his family to flee the town but deciding to leave his daughter behind at the homecoming dance. Excerpt: "He couldn't risk going back to get her because he was too high profile. She had chosen to leave the family. So be it." Speaking of the homecoming dance, Emily is distraught because there are only about half the number of students at the dance to see her crowned queen because the Rapture is scheduled to occur in less than 12 hours and they are at home. But she makes a couple of phone calls around 11:00 pm and a hundred more students show up. Who's going to let their kids go to a dance on the eve of the end of the world? If Stennett is a Christian, and there is no reason to think he is after reading this book, he's failed at presenting a positive Christian message, much less present the Gospel. Jeff, the father, apparently became a Christian by osmosis when he married Amy, a professing Christian, and started going to church. There is no account of an enlightening moment of repentance and belief in his life, which should have been a slam dunk given all the thought narrative that permeates the book. We aren't told if Emily or Will are believers. They alternate between believing they will be "caught up" and being left behind. They don't seem to care either way. Neither are we told whether or not people are worried about being left behind. Don't be tempted to check out this book because of the subject matter. Do yourself a favor and don't read this book.