Jukebooks: This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-Ready

This Side of Salvation by Jeri Smith-ReadyDavid’s family is still recovering from the trauma of the death of his older brother, John, who died while serving in the military. For David, baseball and religious faith have been essential in rebuilding his life. Then he meets Bailey, and despite their different beliefs, he falls deeply in love. All seems to be on track until David tells his family about a preacher who predicts the Rapture will occur on May 11, at 3:00 am. Far from reacting with the expected laughs, David’s parents are intrigued. And then, after meeting the preacher, they become true believers. David’s parents begin to prepare for the end of the world.

David and Bailey listen to the Grammy Award winning band, Arcade Fire. In her author’s note, Smith-Ready writes about her own love for the band, particularly Arcade Fire’s second album, Neon Bible. She explains, ” …Neon Bible is about adolescence, when many of us first learn that the world can hurt us. Neon Bible and this novel both chronicle the struggle to retain hope in the face of this revelation.” A single on this album, “Intervention,” speaks of revolution, violent separation from misguided rulers. The music video sets the powerful lyrics against scenes from a 1925 silent movie, Battleship Potemkin, now considered a prime example of revolutionary propaganda. The combination is chilling.

Because of copyright issues, the music video has to be played directly on YouTube. But it’s worth the extra click.

-Diane Colson, currently reading A Volcano Beneath the Snow: John Brown’s War on Slavery by Albert Marrin