Thursday, January 5, 2012

Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss

Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse is not the type of book I would normally choose. It deals a lot with religion, and I tend to avoid those sort of books. I do believe in God, but I dislike overly simplistic Christian messages and what I see as the conservative leaning bias of many of the people who live in Ohio and the rest of the Midwest. So, no creepy Amish Christian novels for me. I'm not exactly sure why I decided to download and read the book. It has a fairly cool cover, and I was intrigued by the male narrator and coming of age story.

I'm used to male narrators such as those in Frank Portman's King Dork and John Green's books. They talk about girls and think about sex and make me a little uncomfortable. Phillip isn't nearly as, um, driven. He's a sophomore and when he finally gets a girlfriend, he stresses out about kissing her. Just kissing, no mention is ever made of sex. I'm a little torn on whether the books I read before are normal or this one is abnormal.

Phillip meets Rebekkah at track practice one day. He thinks she's unconventionally hot. She invites him to a youth group meeting. He's kind of weirded out, but when an unconventionally hot girl invites you somewhere, you HAVE to go. One major problem is that Phillip's dad is an extreme atheist. His mom used to try to take Phillip and his brother to church, but their dad stopped her. In the days before she died (We get little flashbacks in between the regular narrative), she had been hoarding supplies for the end of the world. Her obsession sparked an interest in the apocalypse in Phillip. He collected several books on the topic. Because of this interest, the first Bible book Phillip reads is Revelation.

As the book progresses, Phillip starts to go to actual church services and completes service hours to participate in the Summit, a big church conference. It's always one step forward, two steps back, though. For all the progress he makes, every new discovery brings a new opportunity for doubt. I really like that Phillip doesn't automatically have all the answers to everything. A good portion of faith is figuring out what you believe and why, and it definitely doesn't always make sense. I also like how it's not all about Christianity as the only good religion. Phillip's dad could have been vilified, and it was a little sad how he punished his son for going to church. In all fairness, he makes up for this later in the book. Rebekkah's father is a Christian who is always away from home on religious missions. Rebekkah still bases her decisions on what her father would want her to do. It's sad that neither of them gives their children the option to decide for themselves. Phillip's father may be an atheist, but at least he's there for his family.

Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse definitely gave me a lot to think about. That's definitely a good thing. I received a copy of Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse from the Simon & Schuster Galley Grab. It's available now.

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