Monday, May 24, 2010

Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World by Tom Davis

Several years ago, I read Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis. I had just returned from months on the mission field and the book reinforced much of what I had seen and experienced firsthand. Needless to say, I was stoked to hear that Davis published a novel. A friend loaned it to me and I read it from cover to cover in about 3 days.

Scared is what I would call realistic fiction. The entire book (characters, places, events) is based on the reality of life in Swaziland, a small country in Africa where almost 50% of the people suffer from HIV/AIDS. It's hard to read ... or maybe I should say, it's hard to stomach what you're reading. It's hard to read about children who fill the role of head of household, men who rape girls in their family, drought, flood, famine, an AIDS crisis that could cause an entire country to become extinct if things don't change. If it was pure fiction, it would just roll off. But it's not. It's true. These things really happen. And it's tough to take in.

The best part of the book, though, is not even the story. It's how it makes you feel. The characters and the things that happen to them evoke emotion. You feel like you are THERE, like you KNOW these people. I pray this book will open peoples' eyes to what is really going on in the world. And not just open their eyes but make them get up and do something about it.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. If you've been to Africa, if you haven't, if you care about the world, if you don't (especially if you don't!) ... This is a unique work of fiction in that it really moves you to action.

5 stars (out of 5)

NOTE: There are some "mature" scenes in this book. Parents might want to read this book before or with their teenage kids. It would make for great discussion!

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