Project Sunlight

You exers are weird. Really really weird. I mean, I thought I was weird, but you… you are the ones who asked me to review this:

This cat is a 12 year old black female who–

Oh. Right.  The book.

Apparently, a lot of you have some very strong memories of this book. Some of these memories are negative (“it was used as a scare tactic”) but a lot of them are positive (“It was the Harry Potter/Stephen King of our time.”)

I read this book when I was a teenager in Academy, and I thought it was… just another run of the mill end times SDA novel full of preachy exposition and cardboard cutout characters.

But apparently, I need to burst your happy little childhood bubbles and show you everything that’s wrong with this book. Because this book is TERRIBLE.

Here’s the description on the back cover:

I am Jared, citizen of the universe

Which universe? Where? What’s your galactic address? And hang on, shouldn’t you be telling us your a citizen of heaven? Spoiler alert: Jared’s an angel. I was always taught that heaven existed outside the universe. Also, “Citizen of the Universe” tells us NOTHING!

Ok, I’ll try again without interruption.

I am Jared, citizen of the universe, member of the Celestial Penmen. I want to record one person’s reaction to the sin environment.

At random I chose her, a young mother of two. She’s divorced, hurt, bitter, and is searching for the Prince, though she doesn’t know it yet.

The Prince? What… what does that mean… I get that Jesus is called The Prince of Peace, but Satan is also refereed to as “Prince of This World” or “Prince of Darkness.” A quick google search also tells me that the bible* refers to him as The Prince of the Power of the Air, whatever the hell that means. I think they’re using the title here to refer to Jesus, but I think this was a particularly poor choice on the author’s part. The term is just too vague.

Sorry, I really can’t do this in one chunk without interrupting. Jared goes on:

I call her Sunlight

Why? Does this woman not have her own name? Ahem. Right. Uninterrupted.

weeks pass. fall shivers into winter, and Sunlight, with her new friend Sybil, has been studying the teachings of the Prince. The more they learn, the more excited they become…

Jared’s narrative ends, and this paragraph begins. I can’t read the whole thing, because there’s a big sticker over it. (It is not available to copy and paste from Amazon.)

The world may seem nothing but endless tragedy and hate to us. but if we could only stand off and see, we would discover that the universe views our planet from the perspective of unfathomable love. Project Sunlight lets us see through the vehicle of a story the One who loves each of us supremely and how he waits for us to turn to him. Here truly is a book you will never forget…

I’ve forgotten it. Until someone on the Xbox mentioned it, I had totally forgotten it. Not the basic plot outline, but the details thereof. Except the ending, of course.

There’s more text after that, but it’s cut off by the sticker.

Also, I typed this exactly as it was written. There really is only one comma in that paragraph.

The book is copyright 1980 by Southern Publishing Association, though Amazon also has a listing for a book published by Review and Herald.

This is the preface:

The story upon these pages is a dramatization of the final events that await our planet, and the young woman, Sunlight, simply a composite of us all. She represents our need of the Prince, a need that we must recognize and meet before we can be whole.

All Women need a prince, ok? Disney movies tell us so.

For the sake of the story I have taken an occasional liberty. Let the reader remember that God alone knows the details, and they are not necessary to our salvation. The real issue is not how he will come, or even when, but only whether or not you and I will be ready.

Which details are not necessary to our salvation? Look, I get that the author had to take liberties. I have zero issues with this. In fact, everybody who ever picks up an historical fiction novel (and we need to remember that that is exactly what this book sees itself as: a future historical fiction novel) is already going to know that the author is going to take liberties.

However, given all the theological discussions contained herein, I do wonder exactly what liberties the author has taken. The Bible studies where they come to SDA flavored conclusions? The details for how the world ends?

Anyway, because the characters are cardboard cutouts, we need a list to keep track of them. Here it is:

Jared……. an angel

Sunlight (Meg)….. a young divorcee

Michael…….Sunlight’s friend from childhood

Jenny and Carol…..Sunlight’s children

Jim……sunlight’s former husband

Marie……Jim’s present wife

Sybil….. Sunlight’s neighbor and friend

Bill……Sybil’s husband

Joe:………Young pastor friend of Michael’s

Jean…….. Joe’s wife

Jason and Tammie……. Joe and Jean’s children

Dale, Anne, Roy, Ellen, Mr. Laird…….. members of Joe’s congregation

Kelly…… work associate of Sunlight’s

State Police

 

 

A couple of observations:

  1. Jared is an angel. Ok, what kind of angel? What does he do, what’s his job, what’s his purpose.
  2. Jenny and Carol are listed together, as “Sunlight’s children.” They are not considered characters in their own right. If someone is to ask who Jenny is, we learn only that she is “one of of Sunlight’s children.” Ok, but is she the oldest or youngest? Is she quiet and shy or hyperactive and wild? Somewhere in between? Just how old is she, anyway? This is not a very useful character guide.
  3. Random members of the congregation are listed as… random members of the congregation.
  4. The state police are listed as characters here, even though we don’t get their names. How big is the role of state police in this book anyway? You know what, it’s an end times novel. Nevermind.
  5. Notice how they refer to Megan as “divorcee.” Not, “A young woman who catches Jared’s attention,” or “a single mother of two.” I would’ve just written, “Sunlight’s real name.” Because Megan’s marital status is all that matters to them.

Ok everyone, here’s the drinking game so far:

  1. The word “bitter” is used
  2.  Every time I bang my head against the book
  3.  Jenny and Carol behave in a way that is not age appropriate (99% of all SDA authors can not write believable children.)

I’ll let you know and update this as things go along.

And now, my friend D is showing me a movie wherein aliens take over politics. So, a real life documentary, then.

 

*Ephesians 2:2

 

 

 

 

 

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