Back in high school, I was extremely active in debate. This included competitions in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Original Oratory, Dramatic Interpretation, and mock congress. My favorite competition was Dramatic Interpretation.
The rules of Dramatic Interpretation was that the competitor choose a 10-minute section of a book or play and act it out with no props and completely memorized. My freshman year, I chose to use Frank E Peretti’s “Tilly”. The book is a far cry from his current writings, but during my high school years, I was an evangelical Christian, and I sought out any way I could to profess my faith.
“Tilly” told the story of a woman tormented by nightmares after having an abortion. She was made to believe that she could never be forgiven for “killing her unborn baby”. Then one night she has a dream and she meets this child. At the end of the story, the reader discovers that this child is the unborn baby that the woman had aborted and that nothing was so bad as to not be forgiven. It was a fairly emotional story. And I finished my freshman year earning multiple 2nd place trophies for my interpretation of the book. It’s funny. Browsing Amazon, I discovered it was rewritten into a screen play twelve years after I performed it in high school!
Dramatic Interpretation, Continued
I continued to use Frank Peretti’s books throughout high school for my dramatic interpretation competitions. Of course, each one contained a Christian theme, but they also contained stories of child abuse and demonic possession, and my acting skills, I guess, were good enough to earn me multiple awards.
A Break from Fiction
I stopped reading Frank Peretti’s books after high school. I suppose I was more interested in non-fiction with my college courses, and I didn’t have an opportunity to compete in debate while in college. But last week, something prompted me to see if Frank Peretti was still writing, and indeed, he was.
Frank Peretti’s Monster
Though not his latest publication, Monster tells the story of big foot type creatures living in the forests of Idaho. The reader gets to see both sides of the story, the humans who are searching for a missing camper and the “monsters” who have the missing camper and how they interact with one another. I’m only about two-thirds of the way through the book, and I’m eager to see how the story unfolds.
Frank Peretti’s Faith
But the story, Monster and some of his other latest publications beg the question, has the author lost his faith, or has the money he earned for his Christian thrillers outweighed his need for a Christian theme in his fictional novels? Once I finish this book, I may have to find a book published soon after those I read in high school to see exactly when his writing perspectives changed.