Battle Royale - a book recommendation

For the last five days, I have had a book that I read a year ago on my mind. It has plagued me. Maybe it is because I am discouraged lately. Only God knows.

I won't explain the events of the book. I'll let the back of the book do that.

"Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, is one of Japan's best-selling - and most controversial - novels. As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one "winner" remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television. A Japanese pulp classic available in English for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today's dog-eat-dog world. The first novel by small-town journalist Koushun Takami, it went on to become an even more notorious film by 70-year-old gangster director Kinji Fukusaku."

It's like Lord of the Flies on Crystal Meth. It's written much differently than most American novels since it is a Japanese novel tranlsated into English. It's also been adapted into manga (for those who don't know what that is - it is Japanese comic books). I recommend only the novel, not the manga.

You could get hung up on all the gore and the violence. Maybe you should. But I couldn't get past the message of hope and friendship that this book brought me. The students live in an extreme world. A world where the government has complete control. A world where people look out for only themselves in order to get ahead. Now they're plopped on an island where the government has provided them with weapons and they have a limited time for only one of them to be left alive or they all die, all for the world's entertainment.

Should you trust your good buddies in an extreme culture of individualism? Is there point in friendship besides just meeting one's selfish needs? Do we really need one another? Is individualism evil and community good? Maybe we should look beyond the temporary and perceive the system.

The book expresses some amazing points in a very unique and, sometimes, disturbing way. If you don't like brains being blown around and heads being chopped off, then this book isn't for you. But if you can endure that or even enjoy that, I can't recommend this book enough. I couldn't stop turning the pages and still can't get the point of the book out of my head. It's ultimately a book about trust. Soemthing we all need to do with our fellow man if we are ever going to truly experience the kingdom here on earth. It's also something that if we do, we will inevitably get burnt. I guess being a Christian is about healing from the burns and going out and trusting again.

Watch out for potholes.