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I Want to be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth

A Memoir

In Brenda Peterson’s unusual memoir, fundamentalism meets deep ecology. The author’s childhood in the high Sierra with her forest ranger father led her to embrace the entire natural world, while her Southern Baptist relatives prepared eagerly and busily to leave this world. Peterson survived fierce sword drill competitions demanding total recall of the Scriptures and awkward dinner table questions (Will Rapture take the cat, too?) only to find that environmentalists with prophecies of doom can also be Endtimers. Peterson paints such a hilarious, loving portrait of each world that the reader, too, may want to be Left Behind. Her clever take on the “Left Behind” phenomenon in the book’s title isn’t just a gentle refutation of an escapist religious prophecy. It’s an appeal for something more inclusive than the idea that true believers will one day be swept up midair and whisked off to an eternal paradise, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves.

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