Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Numbers 2: The Chaos by Rachel Ward

This is part of a popular trilogy marketed to tween/teen readers.

That reminds me of a Scripture verse:

…and Jesus wept.

This is not a book for tweens. It’s proof we live in a pornified culture willing to take the children down with us. That such details are now considered acceptable adolescent fodder and, sadly, don’t shock many of them, is a reason to mourn our loss of innocence and modesty. Conversely, adults willing to shock innocent tweens with such content is a lack of prudence…at best.

The premise: Adam looks into peoples’ eyes and sees the dates of their deaths. The year is 2027 and the world is chaotic: coastal lands are flooding, natural disasters have increased, and Adam and his grandma move to London to escape the flooding seacoast. His mother and father died, but his mother passed on her gift of reading peoples’ numbers to Adam . She warned him not to tell anyone since you can imagine the general reaction. But Adam feels compelled to tell the world when he notices the same death date in so many peoples’ eyes. Clearly, an apocalyptic disaster is heading for London.

Sarah is the love interest in the story for the 15 yr. old Adam. She is a fellow student who is terrified when she first meets him because she has had nightmares where she and her daughter are caught in flames and Adam emerges through them and takes her baby, Mia, and runs back into the conflagration.

The language is coarse. The F-word features prominently; thankfully, even though no one is calling on God, at least His name was only used in vain once. Adam has a serious anger issues and throws nasty rebellious tantrums toward his grandmother. He calls her a silly cow when he’s not even having a fit. The love in their relationship is shown as well, but his behavior is disturbingly disrespectful.

He meets up with Sarah at school and from that attraction we get to hear about the ache in his balls and experience his masturbation in his kitchen while he thinks about her in the upstairs bathroom. They get in bed together, which, of course, is quick, explicitly graphic in detail, and not remotely related to courtship or marriage. When grandma notices 15 yr. old Adam emerging from Sarah's room, she fails to act as a real grandma should.

We are spared a description of the consummation. That’s because Sarah panics due to the fact that she was raped by her father. Her baby is his. When she ran away from the incest, she was first recruited by a girl who gives her shelter but clearly prostitution will be the cost. She is rescued by a man named Vince. He gives her shelter in his home amongst addicts; he is a dealer. He treats her well and acts as a brother to her. She finds safety of a sort in the home.

I’m an agnostic skeptic of the global-warming hysteria that has the world flooding and quaking its way to destruction by 2027, but I do find the vision of the overall setting in the book believable. Europe has continued to detach itself from its Christian moorings and is now a violent police-state with chaotic environment. Sarah summarizes in her reflections on the lives of the drug dealers: reality is so bad, who can blame people for making it better with a bottle or a pinprick? The take-away message is that the important thing is not to judge… so Sarah also offers a shallow comment about not being judgmental.

Around Christmas, you see a brief flicker of transcendence as there is still a semblance of celebration in the land: gift-giving and Christmas lights make a showing. Jesus is only referred to as a prophet. How safe. Muslims grant him that. Europeans should know better. Not much of a reason to celebrate and few do.

This is not so say that the plot is not compelling, and it is a taut story that would appeal to reluctant readers. Probably, the ALA and NEA will endorse it heartily. Beware.


See: Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2353


Anonymous,  November 12, 2011 at 12:32 PM  

i am really looking forward to reading this book...i already read the first one and now to start the next one but the problem is im going to have to wait even longer for the third book because as i have heard it is only in the UK i hope it gets here soon!!!! =D

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