Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mini-Review of "The Last Day"

James Landis sets an ambitious challenge for himself - telling a "Jesus-meets-returning-Iraq-veteran" tale without being too maudlin or preachy. For the most part, he succeeds in weaving a moving and evocative tale about Warren Harlan Pease. After serving in Iraq, Pease shows up back home on the Seacoast of New Hampshire and encounters Jesus in the form of a Ray, who meets him on the beach. Ray guides Pease through a day of reunions and reconciliation.

The fact that I am intimately familiar with all of the spots along the Seacoast and Great Bay that Landis describes allowed me to buy into this story in a personal way. There are many things about this book that I enjoyed. I have one quibble that I must share regarding an artistic choice that Landis made. Pease, having just served in a war zone, does not talk like a soldier or a warrior. His language seems too pretty, too sterile, as if it has been edited for a Sunday School audience of readers. I would have preferred a little more of the grit I have come to expect from the conversations of soldiers who have seen too much death and felt too much suffering in the war zone.

"The Last Day" certainly shares some elements with the much-discussed "The Shack," Both books invite us to see God in non-traditional ways. For that I am grateful to the author.


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