Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Tom Davis's Scared ~ Reviewed
By Tom Davis
Published by: David C. Cook
Stuart Daniels has hit bottom. Once a celebrated and award-winning photojournalist, he is now reeling from debt, a broken marriage and crippling depression. The source of Stuart’s grief is his most famous photo: a snapshot of brutality in the dangerous Congo. A haunting image that indicts him as a passive witness to gross injustice.
Stuart is given one last chance to redeem his career: a make-or-break assignment covering the AIDS crisis in a small African country. It is here that Stuart meets Adanna, a young orphan fighting for survival in a community ravaged by tragedy and disease.
But in the face of overwhelming odds, Adanna finds hope in a special dream, where she is visited by an illuminated man and given a precious gift.
Now, in a dark place that’s a world away from home, Stuart will once again confront the harsh reality of a suffering people in a forgotten land. And as a chance encounter becomes divine providence, two very different people will find their lives forever changed.
I’ve just finished reading Scared, my eyes are tearing and my throat is tight, I can’t speak. How can I begin to tell you how this book has affected me? What horrific and unbelievable things are happening to people in this day and age? Society has advanced so far with technology, cell phones and big screen TV’s - yet there are people in this world whose only hope is to eat three or four times a week. Unthinkable!
In the early 80’s, my BFF and her husband went in live in Africa as missionaries. I was afraid for her and what diseases she would encounter. During this time the evening news was showing small, half naked children with their belly’s bloated from malnutrition, begging for food as bugs were landing in their eyes and on their nose. My friend told me they had to be really be careful not to brag or talk about the food they had. They also could only travel at certain times a day because they were fearful of getting lynched for food and/or money. Fear was ever present then. My BFF was fearful to have food and careful about who to share it with – I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around any of that.
I received her letters describing living conditions and just couldn’t believe it. It’s the 1980’s and people were living in huts, washing their clothes in the river, had no indoor plumbing, bathrooms and were buying their meat at outside markets! My friend explained how she had to get to the market early because they killed animals in the morning before they took them to be sold. The meat spoiled the longer it sat in the sun. They had no refrigeration and no nets to stop the bugs from landing on the meat as it waited to be sold. It was mind boggling.
After reading Scared, where Tom Davis describes the living conditions in the 2000’s, it’s even more unimaginable and heart wrenching than my friends description to me in the 80’s. Someone describes Africa’s plight to Stuart, a photographer for the New York Times, “Our country is experiencing so much brokenness; church is the only place people can put the broken pieces back together…. Death and disease have broken down everything we have worked so hard to build.”
Another character tells Stuart, “My dream is to educate every man, woman and child in our country about the devastating affect of AIDS. I want them to know how it spreads and how they can survive if they contract it. I want women to have the courage and support to say ‘ no’ to unfaithful husbands. I want to do my part to see the end of HIV’s destructive power in my generation and watch as a new generation rises up to be free.”
Powerful and haunting, Scared – gives you a glimpse of Africa, and the tale of horrific events –many too horrible to describe. The author also tells amazing stories of hope, love and courage. Tom Davis’s, Scared; will leave you praying for Africa and wanting to help them. This is a must read for everyone.
Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent – Book Club Servant Leader