No Parking at the End Times
Author: Bryan Bliss
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they've lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.
Abigail doesn't know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn't have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the "end of the world." Because of course the end didn't come. And now they're living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful, literary debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.
I give No Parking at the End Times props for being different. Different it definitely was. I don't read that many religious centred books, I usually stay far away from ones I know are going to be so, but every now and then they sneak up on me. What drew me to this one though is the cult-like fashion it was handled. The religious aspect wasn't bible-bashing, but in a way a little bible-bashing but not overbearing, and it's delves into faith verses religion. Can you have faith without having religion? When you think about it, faith and religion go together, but faith does exist out of religion. You don't have to have a religion to believe in God, to believe and have faith in something unknown. Whether that's God, life, the future, it's still faith.
No Parking at the End Times is a middle ground for me, I've been trying to decide how to rate it a five or a one, because while it was addicting and I really got into it, (I did read it in 2 1/3 hours) but I also hated everything it stood for. Don't get me wrong, like I said, while the religion is the base of the novel, it's an exploration into faith and religion, and the way some take advantage of that faith, forming a religious cult that sucks you in until you're in so deep that when you realise what it really is, it's all you're left with. No Parking at the End Times shows that perfectly, because no matter how bad the characters lives got, their parents kept running back and giving more, more that that they don't have, the more in the clutches of the Father/Preacher/Whatever that submerges them. It's also denial. Denial so much that if their parents just stopped for a second and questioned their actions, the Father's actions and requests, they'd find bullshit.
I liked the characters, well, Abigail, our main one is a little suffocating, but considering what's going on, you get that, because you're feeling what she's feeling. Suffocated. She has to believe God, she has to believe in her family, but she uses that as her safety net, because she's afraid of the truth. She's afraid of waking up and seeing it, and knowing that no matter what they did or said, her parents were basically puppets that did whatever Brother John said. Basically, the whole of this novel pissed me off entirely, I got so angry on Abigail and Aarons behalf because what their parents were doing was completely mental and destructive, and the worst part of it was that their parents were blind to it all.
While No Parking at the End Times made me think a lot, I had a lot of issues with it, mainly of the above and that it pissed me off so much, but the ending was the major problem, I didn't find it believable that after all that extreme belief that it just gets sorted as easily as that. I get it's a progress, a progress Abigail had to deal with herself, but the parents turning their backs just like that was hard to believe.
Overall, No Parking at the End Times is good, it's not one I'd read again, and one I wouldn't read if you don't like Religious/Faith books, but if you want to get angry and rant at a book, you're welcome to join me.