Chapter 38 opens with the most awkward exchange:
“Praise the Lord” [...]
“Oh, I believe it, I believe it.”
You…believe… praising the Lord… what? I’m now picturing Our Lord Cthulu has snaked a tentacle into Marshall’s brain and is still getting used to controlling him like a meat puppet. “Dammit, that’s the wrong believer-button… meant to hit the sassafrassan ‘hallelujah’ button… they all look alike…oh well, nobody noticed, keep walking.”
Here was Hank’s dear Mary, weeping and hugging and kissing and whispering her love to him, and he could hardly believe it was really happening. He had never felt so separated from her before.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but they were locked up overnight, right? As in, maybe 12 hours? This is how you know that our protagonists are white middle-class males: the idea of being in lockup overnight is a horrifying ordeal. I’ve never been arrested, but I have been put in a temporary holding cell for mental patients pending transfer into the hospital proper. It’s freakish, but it’s not the end of the world. And I certainly had a lot more to think about than being away from my boyfriend.
Also, wasn’t Bernice arrested overnight in the beginning of the book? She didn’t throw herself at Marshall sobbing with joy when he let her out. Oh, but I guess she wasn’t a Christian Martyr then.
Maybe I’m just tired of the book, but this all feels so….overwrought.
Speaking of Bernice, Marshall spies her and Susan and Kevin waiting for him.
Wow! When these people pray, God listens!
“These people”? Feels like that old joke, ‘What do you mean we, paleface?‘ He only just converted and already is outside the circle again, looking in enviously.
Also. 38 chapters and no sign of God intervening. I call bullshit.
Bernice “burst[s] from the car” and hugs Marshall, causing Hank to assume she’s Mrs Hogan.
[Marshall] felt the hug go out of his arms.
Bernice sipped limply out of the embrace.
You see that, my fellow godless heathens? This is what a good, strong, Christian man does when hugged by an emotional woman who has had the worst few days of her life, been pushed past the breaking point repeatedly, all trying to help him on his fruitless crusade, and finally reunited with him after having no idea what he’s been through either but assuming it’s terrible: drops her. Because they’re not married. There can be no comfort outside a marriage! Don’t you know hugs are second base? (First is hand-holding).
Bernice knew immediately that something had happened to Marshall. It didn’t surprise her; something had been happening to her too, and she could see in Marshall’s face and detect in his voice that same inner brokenness she had been feeling in herself. Somehow she knew that this young man standing next to Marshall had something to do with it all.
You see that? Sign up for Jesus today and you, too, can have “inner brokenness”! Just contact your local sex-offending-but-obviously-the-charges-were-false pastor today to ask about pricing!
Bernice tells Marshall about Sandy, and he calls in Hank and “his people” to… I guess pray the
gay independence demons out of her?
For some reason we return to the pastoral imagery again. You can tell there’s real evil brewing because it touches the lives of the peaceful, ‘ordinary’ small-town folk, turning their usual happy-go-lucky Sundays into pessimism-filled accident-prone unlucky days. Which… I guess we’re meant to believe that all small-town folk are always carefree and happy. Classism via fetishism?
And then Rafar orgasms:
Then his breath sucked in through his fangs like a gasp of surprise, but this was no surprise. It was the highest kind of thrill, a demonic exhilaration such as he felt only rarely, a precious and very ripe fruit to be enjoyed only after much labor and preparation.
I wish I was making this up.
He then flies over to taunt Tal about the massive numbers of reinforcements flying in to overrun the angels. The angels are properly horrified, but then decide to be smug instead.
Sandy is secretly terrified but overcomes it with relaxation techniques, proving that obviously fear is always healthy and necessary and never your brain playing tricks on you. The monsters under your bed? Demons.
Next week: the meeting!