Thank you for a fascinating review.
It made me ponder my own book and why I wrote it the way I did and I thought you'd be interested which of your comments got me to thinking and what those thoughts were.
Character development and plot:
I think effective character development (or character creation, as I call it) comes from seeing what a character does and his/her interactions and dialogue.
I don't outline. I try to discover characters and learn who they are and what they are doing and that usually leads me to a plot. And a plot is really a road down which characters travel. When I started this book in the 1980s I knew I had a stone mason working on a cathedral and I knew the religious right had dominated the society. I knew Bob Crowley would have a wife and many children.
And so I created other characters through which we could explore what kind of society had been created. My first working title for Rabbletown was 2084. I was working on the book close to the year of 1984, the date that is, in my opinion, also that most famous of dystopian works, Orwell's masterpiece.
I discovered Bob's son Bobby had an incredible memory for Bible verses. I explored the ways Evangelical Christians reached an accommodation with the Catholics and used their technical skills with computers which turned into spy machines. Then the book stalled on me. I couldn't get it to move forward until the late 1990s. I let Bobby perform his miracles. I let him be a Christ figure.
That is one reason there isn't a point of view from Bobby. Imagine if we had a point of view from Jesus in the Gospels. His presence is much stronger when his actions are reported on by others. That it why the stigmata scene is reported from so many different points of view. And just as Jesus is important to so many individual people; so it is with Bobby and his preaching and sayings.
Nancy, reading your comment you were "...kinda jealous I didn't write this one myself," is the highest compliment. I thank you for it!