Monday, May 24, 2010

"The Last Christian" by David Gregory

This is a very difficult review to write.

Since the book is thick and the plot involved, I'll provide the backdrop first. Abby emerges from the jungle when her village contracts a disease. She ends up meeting with her cousin Lauren who is a politician and her life partner Sabin (in 2088, people don't get married, they instead have ten-year contracts with partners). Abby develops a friendship with Kate, a doctor who helps discover her village's illness. She also meets up with Creighton, a history professor. The professor's father had a message from Abby's grandfather Ray that mentioned Abby bringing back Christianity to the United States (it is practically considered a dead religion in 2088). In this future era, Nichols is a scientist that developed a silicon brain that electronically obtains a person's memories and is then implanted in the human skull; this way, people still keep their thoughts but have a brain that will never deteriorate. This also relates to "the Grid," which is like a huge Internet system that people with a chip in their brain can connect to instantly; there is tapping, which is like instant and virtual Skype; the virtual reality is real for citizens and easily accessible. Those with silicon brains have a higher mental capacity. However, there is one large compensation / drawback, which I will not spoil. There are other characters that pop up, mostly FBI agents and goonies of antagonists.

Anyway, from the back of the book, readers think they'll get a future Christian revival. That doesn't happen in the book. Gregory has an aptitude for writing, and the pages fly by. Readers just don't get what they bargained for. Abby, who is a missionary's daughter, does not fill the role of what she is expected to. First off, she involves herself romantically with a non-Christian (sure, she says she will not have intercourse with him, but she does become emotionally attached to him and kisses him passionately). While some parts of the book focus on Christian themes, they don't show a mass-conversion that is desired. Abby does share the Gospel with a few people face to face, and she does appear on television, but she does not go about reintroducing Christianity to America with a missionary fervor one would expect. In the end, she realizes something new about Christianity and becomes supposedly closer to God. An event that happens to her does make a small group of people gather regularly to talk about God, but there is no large scale change that the back cover alludes to.

Religiously, readers can view this book either one of two ways. They can view Abby as a normal woman in a supernormal role cast upon her. She is not perfect and did what she could to start the burgeonings of Christianity again. Or, readers can be utterly disappointed in this book. Abby did not introduce Christianity to America in the sense they had hoped for, and she was not the ideal Christian in all of her actions. A good portion of the book is action and drama. Sure, Jesus is mentioned and God comes into play, but not in the sense that the reader expected. In short, this book is entertaining and will keep the pages flying, but, when readers come to the end, they will have a furrowed brow.

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