Edge Of Apocalypse – by Tim LaHaye & Craig Parshall (2010)

Edge Of Apocalypse

It had been awhile since I’d read an apocalyptic novel, and this one caught my eye as I browsed the shelves at my public library. It’s the first in a four-book series, “The End”. The novel begins with New York City nearly being obliterated by nuclear warheads fired by North Korea. The United States fights back with an experimental weapon invented by Joshua Jordan, and the city is saved. Suddenly every country on earth wants it. Congress demands the schematics for the weapon, which Joshua is loath to give out, lest it fall into the wrong hands. That begins the political struggle between those who see Joshua as a hero, and those who want him arrested and punished for refusing to share the technology with the country and its allies.

Although I would call the book a political thriller, it does also include a fair amount about Joshua’s relationships with God, his wife, and his son Cal. There is also a friend who is struggling with addiction to anti-depression medicine in the story. The themes of globalism and big media control are also woven into the story.

Author Tim LaHaye is best known for his “Left Behind” series, which I read back in the 90s, when it was on the New York bestseller’s list. This series seems relatively unknown. I have read one other book by the co-author, Craig Parshall – Trial By Ordeal – and found it very entertaining.

If you like reading end-of-the-world book, you might give this one a try.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – by Betty Smith (1943)

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

This classic novel follows the life of the impoverished Nolan family, living in Brooklyn during the early 1900’s. Johnny is the musical, fun-loving father, Katie the mother who is the main financial provider for the family, Francie the 11-year-old daughter, and Neeley the 10-year-old son. The reader is given an intimate look at what it was like to grow up in an overcrowded neighborhood with barely enough money to survive. The current welfare system had not been created yet, so poor families had to use all their wits to stay afloat.

The best thing about “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” is the depth of the characters in the story, especially Francie and her mother Katie. You are allowed to see what they see, feel what they feel as they tackle life. There are moments of despair, but also times of elation as they overcome difficulties.

My favorite part of the book was when the family was trying to help Francie with a horrible school situation. I loved what her father did for her, and how her Aunt Sissy stepped in to help as well. That was one spunky family!

The tree referred to in the book title is the “Tree Of Heaven”, which is basically a weed type of tree that can grow anywhere. It grows where nothing should grow – even out of cracks in the sidewalk. It represents people like the Nolans, where all the cards are stacked against them. No one expects them to succeed or better themselves. But against all odds, Francie – like the scrawny tree – struggles and grows and overcomes the circumstances that try to hold her down. If Francie could succeed, so can each one of us.