In this campus novel, a Christian college student tries to convince a professor of the validity of the book of Revelation.
Joshua Taylor, an undergraduate at the University of North Texas, is a devout Christian. He speaks to God every morning and even works at the Christian coffee shop near campus: Gamaliel’s Cafe, where the 12 drinks on the menu are all named after Apostles. He should therefore find his expository writing class intriguing: The professor, Felix Hampton, requires students to write persuasive essays about how they think the world will end. The students have some diverse ideas. Abdul Aalee Kanasani, a Muslim, believes Al-Mahdi will come to save the world. Troy Dimitius believes in the New Age movement and thinks there will be one world leader. Hampton, as Joshua learns from his boss at the cafe, has been an atheist since the death of his wife. Joshua has no problem convincing Olivia, the prettiest girl in class, of the inevitability of the end times as outlined in Scripture, but can he convince the skeptical Hampton to believe the prophecy—and return to Jesus? Barba (Young of the Faith, 2012) certainly offers a promising premise here. And he writes in a clear, cheerful prose, reminiscent of YA fiction: “Joshua knew that he needed a part-time job that would keep some cash flowing through his pocket....Besides, it was the quiet and calm environments” of local cafes “that never failed to bring a strong sense of relaxation to Joshua Taylor.” But Joshua never doubts his beliefs (and the plot, of course, reveals him to be right about everything), which makes him a somewhat annoying protagonist. The depictions of everyone who disagrees with him range from simplistic (in the case of Hampton) to offensive (Abdul is revealed to be the son of the “Chief Spy for Hamas” and says things like “Bow to Allah or be wiped off the earth”). The implications of the ending are particularly disturbing. While the novel’s setup might have led to some thoughtful exploration and intellectual growth, the story ends up being a bit of Evangelical wish fulfillment.
An uneven Christian tale.