Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Misadventures of Vicki Byrne

Much as I like to tease Fred about the rate he's going through the books, I do envy him a little. He has the ability to take a couple of pages and make good hay out of them; I don't.

The truth is there really isn't much to make from Left Behind: the Kids. While the kids series is occasionally jaw-droppingly awful, most of the time it's really dull.

Take the first two chapters of Left Behind: the Kids #5. No seriously, take them. :rimshot:

What goes down in these chapters is Judd wakes up and finds Vicki gone. Vicki has apparently decided to hitch-hike to Michigan to witness to her disappeared brother's friend. Why? I don't know. This came completely out of nowhere and feels completely wrong given the events. Shouldn't the roads still be clogged with wrecked cars? The book doesn't say how much time has passed since the events took place, but if we follow the adult books chronology, it shouldn't have been more than a few weeks. Wow...

Well fear not, readers. Vicki is neither hacked up by a serial killer nor does she escape to a better novel, unfortunately. Instead she is picked up by a trucker with the handle name Deacon, and he makes arrangements for her to return to Mount Prospect.

Anyway we find out that the middle school and high school have been renamed Global Community Middle School and Nicholae Carpathia High School respectively. Got to hand it to Nicky Alps: he works fast.

Anyway Bruce Barnes calls and there is finally discussion about the kids living alone, which I can say, it's about time someone had that discussion. I understand social services would be too swamped to help them, but surely Bruce would know of someone in his congregation who could take them in.

Sorry to do three chapters at once, but I lack Fred's snarking skill.

Anyway, Vicki reflects.

She wanted to apologize, but the words would not come. Bruce had taught the kids about having to deal with their old selves, their sin natures. Now she was discovering what he meant. Vicki had endured Lionel's and Ryan's bickering, passing off as childishness and blaming it on their ages. But she and Judd should have known better. How could they let their old natures take over after all God, and Bruce, had done for them?

Well given that Zod has slaughtered their families, maybe they shouldn't show so much fealty towards him.

Also, it's high time someone addressed the way Lionel treats Ryan. Even though they are both saved, Lionel still acts like an ass towards Ryan, apparently because Ryan didn't grow up in the church and therefore isn't as readily knowledgeable about the gnosis as Lionel.

But still you have to weep a little when you read it, because once again, they are being brow-beated for being kids which is why I want to tell readers of these novels to sin your hearts out. According to Ellanjay you're damned no matter what so you might as well have some fun before you end up going to hell in a handbasket.

Anyway Bruce plays his role of Alpha Male Preacher

"I feel a tremendous responsibility for you all," he said. "I know you don't want me to. You want to be independent and not answer to anyone. We're all that way. But it's nothing but pride and selfishness. The Bible says that as your pastor, I am also your shepherd. That doesn't make me your parent, but if you want to be in the church and in this little group, your responsibility is to respect my authority over you."

That probably means they are not to do their own reading and research into the Bible even though the Protestant tradition is built on self-inquiry into the Bible, but if the kids start perusing that silly scholarship stuff, why who knows what could happen? :gasp: :pearlclutch:

Anyway there's more discussion about Carpathia and his one-world everything, but that's about it. Four books in and still nothing happens. :whimpers: This is going to be a long snarking.


Evil Paul said...

Bruce Barnes, you useless git.

"I feel a tremendous responsibility for you all," he said."

No you don't! If you did, you would have dropped everything and come running when you heard that four children were living on their own and in danger from gangsters! That's what it means to feel responsible!

"I know you don't want me to. You want to be independent and not answer to anyone."

Right. So the kids came to the church looking for help because now that their parents are dead, they need to find another adult authority figure to defy. Moron.

"We're all that way. But it's nothing but pride and selfishness."

Maybe for you it is, but I got a sneaking suspicion that with the kids it might have a bit more to do with the fact that they're parents are dead and they've been hiding from gangsters for the past X number of weeks without any help whatsoever from their substitute parental figure!

"The Bible says that as your pastor, I am also your shepherd."

And what exactly does the Bible say about "good shepherds"? I guess you skipped that part!

"That doesn't make me your parent, but if you want to be in the church and in this little group, your responsibility is to respect my authority over you."

Fucking pompous idiot thinks he gets credit just for showing up? Hey asshole! You want respect? You earn it!
Sorry, but I really had to vent. I know guys like this and that one paragraph put me around the bend. I finished catching up on your previous posts about a week ago and I got to say, you've got one heck of a constitution to have been putting up with all this dreck, even in passing detail. Cheers.

Rubyfruit said...

Seconding the "Bruce Barnes is Useless" comment. Also the "oh god this is boring" comments. Do Ellanjay think that this is what kids want to read? Do they think that adults would want to read Clunky Exposition with the Worst Pastor in the History of Ever? Do Ellanjay think that people are stupid?

Just answered my own question.

Firedrake said...

Ah, yes, good ol' Nicolae Carpathia High School #4522789. (But no, of course this is just authorial exceptionalism - this is the Nicolae Carpathia High School, which just happens to be where the protagonists are.

Yeah, I can just picture that call to Social Services. "Holy crap, did you say you have children? Looking for a home? Yes, oddly enough we do have foster and adoptive parents available..."

Just because it's the end of the world, that's no reason not to obey PastorDaddy!

I think these guys must believe the "writing for children is easy, you can put in any old guff and they'll swallow it" that gets bandied about by people who have never written for children.

Mouse said...

Wow, three comments already. I am once again indebted to my readers who did a far better job than I of pointing out how for all his alpha male posturing, Bruce Barnes is useless.

Apocalypse Review said...

L&J must think they're edgy for having the teenagers live on their own instead of being grateful to find a living relative who'll take them in. As much as Judd and Vicki might beat their chests over being relatively independent, the fact of the matter is most sixteen-year-olds aren't ready to have adulthood thrust upon them in a time of crisis.

I know I certainly wouldn't have been, and this is what makes the books somewhat artificial. That said, Bruce is indeed useless since he doesn't even try to link the Junior Tribbles with an adult who can help them in this new world they're in.