Saturday, December 13, 2008

Book Review: Boomtown

This is the second book I'm reviewing as part of Thomas Nelson's Book Review Blogger program. Boomtown is by Nowen N. Particular and is intended to be the first book in a series. Boomtown is told in first person from the perspective of a nondenominational pastor who moves into Boomtown with his family to pastor a small church. The people of the town enjoy nothing more than blowing things up. The story takes place between 1949 and 1950 and appears to be the author's vision of some kind of utopia where people of various races and backgrounds live in harmony with one another.

The book appears to be marketed to young boys and I am not part of that target audience but I thought the book was horrible. The main character is almost killed several times and I simply didn't care if he lived or died. The characters lacked the slightest amount of depth. There are photographs scattered throughout the book of the town and its characters and the pictures were the only enjoyable part of the book. Some of the pictures didn't seem to fit but they were still enjoyable.

Theologically the book is horrible. Sin, even in truly ghastly forms such as when people are putting the lives of others in danger, is laughed at. In fact, the book gives the impression that the main character's biggest flaw is his concern for his life and the lives of others. The message of the book is similar to that of many Disney films: parents simply aren't daring enough and set up too many rules.

There was a scene in the book where a man named Xian was put on trial. I thought surely Xian must be code for Christian but it really didn't seem to turn out that way. Xian was declared innocent because the town delighted in exciting sins (and the book seemed to think that this was a good idea). Books like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter show the true evil of sin and teach that some sort of substitutional sacrifice is the only way to defeat evil. Boomtown teaches that if you do something bad it's not a big deal and you should just try do counteract it with some good.

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