Books from my youth: Prophet

The other day, I was thinking back to what books I read as a child that were the most formative. It seems at times that I must not have read much of anything at all – there are so many gaping holes in my education. If I’m honest though, there are a couple of instances that stand out. It’s a good vehicle to briefly jot down a few memories.

Frank Peretti often gets a bad rap for his depiction of demons in the “This Present Darkness” novels. Having met him and heard him speak though, I must say that the man himself is much more interesting than some of his fans.

The major theme of Prophet is not unlike Fahrenheit 413 or 1984 – the spinning of media and suppression of information to control the public. Peretti’s description of how the opening music sequence for the nightly news struck is perfect: Duhduh Duhduh Duhduh… News is happening, happening, happening! Reading the book didn’t make me paranoid, but I can’t help but say that I never took what I heard on the news or read in the paper quite as seriously again. When you see how the sausage is made, you don’t easily forget.

I also enjoyed how Peretti introduced only one small supernatural element into his novel, and only near the very end. It gives you the shivers that much more when the previous 250 pages were all as straight as any procedural crime drama.

I think I was about twelve years old when I read this. The fact that part of the story centers around a bloody botched abortion was certainly a more serious theme than I had encountered before. It’s better to “grow up” by experiencing some of these things at a distance than being tossed into the heavier and more sorrowful things of life first hand before adulthood.

Seeing a girl of about fourteen reading this the other day and is what brought this one to mind.