Can a book titled “Revival” and involves a kindly Minister of a Methodist church, bring you your darkest nightmares? Ya, it can, and you will have nightmares or not.
As a Constant Reader of all things, Stephen King, this book had me in its grasp. It gets you thinking about the after-life. For what is life without hope, for death awaits us all.
In essence, we are growing up with Jamie Morton and aging with the good Reverend-scientist Charles Jacobs, as this book spans 5 decades of their lives. Within these 5 decades, we witness a minister’s descent into madness. And a boy’s growth into manhood, addiction, and his own descent into darkness.
Jamie meets the Reverend Charles Jacobs when he was 6 years old. Jamie likes the Rev. right away and the Rev. likes Jamie, who shows him a model of what he calls Peaceable Lake and miniature Jesus who can walk on water. The relationship develops from there.
When Rev. Charles Jacobs loses his wife and child in an accident, his beliefs are shaken to the core. With a shocking sermon to his congregation, he is banished from his church and the town. This tragedy turns the Reverend into a completely different man and he vanishes from Jamie’s life.
A few years go by and Jamie becomes a teenager, a rock musician, and a drug addict. In the grip of his addiction, he meets the Rev. once again, who’s now calling himself Dan Jacobs, conning audiences into believing he’s curing them by using electricity.
“Electricity is one of God’s doorways to the infinite,” he tells children in Sunday school.
I should mention that the good Reverend’s religious obsession is matched only by his devotion to electrical experiments. Are you scared yet?
Now Charles Jacobs again, he cures Jamie of his heroin addiction, and Jamie feels indebted to him even though he knows that Dan is doing scientific experiments on his audience and now himself. Because everyone wants to believe in a higher power.
Of course, we see his first “miracle” being performed on Jamie’s brother, Conrad who lost his voice for reasons we do not know. This miracle is performed by strapping Conrad into a chair and hooking him up to a voltage machine and, well zapping him. And presto his voice returns.
When next we see Charles Jacobs he’s a tent-show preacher, passing out miracle cures, making him a rich man, due to his gullible audience. By this time, the only person he wants in his life is Jamie, and he weaves an elaborate web to draw Jamie back to him.
As we continue to read Revival, we can feel the moral current crackling throughout, the despair and the insidiousness that creeps out at you and we know that there will be a cost at some point.
“And what do we get for our faith? For the centuries we’ve given this church or that one our gifts of blood and treasure? The assurance that heaven is waiting for us our earliest days: heaven, heaven, heaven! We will see our lost children, our dear mothers will take us in their arms! That’s the carrot. The stick we’re beaten with is hell, hell, hell! A Sheol of eternal damnation and torment. We tell children as young as my dear lost son that they stand in danger of eternal fire if they steal a piece of penny candy or lie about how they got their new shoes wet. – Reverend Charles Jacobs
There have been talks that Revival will be adapted into a movie, although no release date has been set and a full cast has not yet been determined. The cast is looking good so far.
Director: Josh Boone
Release Date: TBD
Cast: Russel Crowe, Samuel L. Jackson