Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Book Review: The Last Day, by James Landis

The Last Day: A Novel
James Landis
Steerforth Press

Warren Harlan Pease is a sniper specialist in the US Army, who on his first day home meets Jesus on a beach in New Hampshire. Warren calls the beach “a place of memories. When you come here, you take your life with you.” (3) Warren Pease, whose name alone is a metaphor for his struggle for religious understanding. Soldiers call Iraq the Mess, and as he spends hours conversing with Jesus he attempts to make “peace” with the the horrible carnage and decimation of human life he has witnessed. War forces him to question his understanding of God, and other peoples’ cultural and religious beliefs.

As a small boy, he learns one day his mother has committed suicide. On the same day he meets the person who become his best buddy, Ryan. His father is a busy veterinarian who has little time for Warren. In high school he meets Bethie Smith, who he finds out is the teacher’s daughter. When Mr. Smith is fired for teaching inappropriate material, Bethie and Warren become his home schooled students. Warren(War) loves Mr. Smith like a father. He introduces War to poetry and he falls in love Emily Dickinson. He also falls in love with Bethie.

Contradictions surround his life in the desert. Love and hate, life and death, goodness and evil, friend and enemy invade his thoughts and tests his faith realizing through Jesus it is more about believing in yourself. You never know the enemy, good and evil can be easily misread, suicide bombers change life in a flash, and people who love and hate one another can love God.

“The chaplains would have you pray, but thats because they were afraid for you being afraid for yourself. A good soldier walked with God. A frightened soldier asked God to walk with him.”(268)

Landis brings you up close to the war zone with his detailed knowledge of weaponry and operations. The story is on the edge drama with some predictability that works anyway. Prepare to weep copious tears of sweeping emotions from sadness to joy. Landis balances the melody of his themes with the harmony of Warren’s conflicts to create a glorious everlasting chanson of belief and wonder.


Blodeuedd said...

To be truthful, this might not be the book for me.
But nice review :)

wisteria said...

Blodeuedd...It isn't for everyone. I had to read it for Early Reviewers at Library Thing. I was actually surprised. It was pretty inspirational, no matter what you believe. Thanks for the comment.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity said...

I think I'm with Blodeuedd, but the cover is really gorgeous. By the way--noticed that your blog switched to partial feed in my feedreader. I swear it wasn't like this earlier today. Did you mean to make the switch?

serendipity_viv said...

There seem to be a lot more books recently that have Jesus or God in them as actual people. I wonder why the sharp rise in this genre. I find them a little hard to read as it goes beyond what I can envisage.

Love your new pretty name at the bottom of your page. We are all so clever.

The Bookworm said...

this does sound like an emotional read.