Tag Archives: deconstruction

Considering Peretti books for analysis

After some thought, I’ve decided that I’m going to do a deconstruction — if you can still call it a deconstruction if you find more about the book that you like than you dislike — of another book by Frank Peretti.

I’ve read a total of five Peretti books.  Each one of them is slightly different in some way.  This Present Darkness is about the war between angels and demons as it plays out in a small town.  Piercing the Darkness, its sequel, is also about angels battling demons, but this time the main focus is the battle over a particular soul (though it did have a swipe at the public education system, which was a popular topic at the time I was reading it due tot he emergence of outcomes based education).

The third book that I read was Prophet, which was not about angels and demons but about a journalist who found himself living a “prophetic” (in the terms of warning others of the consequences of their misdeeds) vocation.  The book mostly focused on the evils of the (liberal, of course) media and abortion.

The fourth book that I read was The Oath.  It was a strange book in that it was far more a Horror book than the others.  While it got preachy about the nature of sin, there was also no clear connections to actual spiritual movements (at least not that I’m aware of) like the first three were.  I often joked that The Oath seemed more like Peretti contracted Stephen King to write a book for him in comparison to the others I had read.

I should note that I read these four books when I was in high school, when I still considered myself a fundamentalist Christian.  As such, I read them as a member of Peretti’s target audience.

I didn’t read my fifth book, The Visitation until I was in my late twenties or early thirties, long after I became a witch and devotee of Freyja.  In many ways, I suppose that’s why i liked the book.  In this book, Peretti turned his critical eye away from “outsiders” and turned it upon his own religious subculture.  As a former member of that same subculture, I appreciated his look.

I’ve decided that I want to do an in-depth analysis of The Visitation.  As I said, I’m not sure I can call it a deconstruction, as many of the parts that I will be exploring are places where I actually identify and agree with Peretti’s thoughts.  However, given the nature of the main plot, which I wasn’t as impressed with, I don’t expect my comments to be entirely glowing, either.

I’m also hoping that it might be interesting to compare this book with This Present Darkness.  Who knows, maybe it’ll even spark up some sort of discussion between Yamikuronue and myself as we compare our experiences of our respective Peretti books.

Great deconstruction

I’ve been fascinated by Fred Clark’s deconstruction of the Left Behind series since I first came into contact with it.  It’s one of the reasons I’ve been reviewing Alisa Harris’s book chapter by chapter.  I have also been considering tackling a more thorough reconstruction of another book.  The book that kept coming back to me was Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, which I originally read while I was in late elementary school (approximately fifth or sixth grade).

While This Present Darkness is nearly three decades old, I think it’s still relevant in that it has shaped and still expresses many of the ideas central to those Christians who are members of the spiritual warfare movement.  As I spent time involved in that movement, attacking this book made a lot of sense.

Yesterday, however, I discovered that a fellow Slacktivite, a woman who goes by the name of yamikuronue on her blog, began deconstructing Peretti’s book back in September.  I read through the entirety of her deconstruction so far (thankfully, she’s only fifty pages into it) and found it to be fascinating and remarkable.

From what I’ve gathered reading yamikuronue’s blog, she was never a member of the spiritual warfare movement herself.  In many ways, I think this is proving to be an asset to her deconstruction.  I’ve looked at a lot of things that she covers and realized that I probably would have taken them for granted and glossed over them.  To give you an example of that, consider the following excerpt from her post dated 22 October:

The man has serious issues with anger management and victim-blaming;
why complacency as his major sin? Complacency goes with despair
certainly – “I can’t fix anything, so why bother” – but that means the
entire bit of irrational anger was all his own doing, with absolutely no
infernal aid. Marshall is an abusive man without the demonic
intervention; all the demon was doing was encouraging him to stop trying
to be less abusive. And this is meant to be our hero?

Understanding how spiritual warfare types often see anger, I would have glossed over this excellent point, whereas yamikuronue focuses on it quite well.  As such, I think she is doing a far better job at deconstructing the books than I would have.

So instead of doing my own deconstruction, I’m going to follow along with hers and offer my comments.  I still have a lot to offer, such as how the things she is deconstructing ties into the greater spiritual warfare mindset and the community that subscribes to it.  I would encourage my readers to follow along as  well.

And I’ll find another book to tackle when the time comes.