Simmonsmry's Reviews > Scared

Scared by Tom    Davis
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's review
Oct 15, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: bookpleasures-reviews
Read in October, 2009

In Scared, debut novelist Tom Davis takes us on a journey to Africa, bringing the continent’s real struggles and hardships into our lives in a way that cannot be ignored.

In the Prologue, we are introduced to Adanna, an African girl who is struggling to survive in horrific conditions with next to no food to eat. She wants to be hopeful, but she is stuck in a quagmire. She says, “I think about what hope means for the people in my village. I try to imagine them rising up in glory…But I only see their twisted bodies, bones poking out of paper skin. They do not rise. They’re in mounds of yellow dirt. I think of my own body wasting away because I haven’t eaten for days.” As heartbreaking as this is, Adanna does not seem to be wallowing in self-pity. She is a strong, courageous girl who is willing to do whatever it takes to save herself and her family.

Next, we meet the other narrator of the novel, photojournalist Stuart Daniels, who is on assignment in the Congo, witnessing and photographing atrocities that will change him forever. At the peak of his career, he is winning awards and capturing images that tell a story to the world. In spite of his success, he is on a downward spiral. His career is off track, his marriage is falling apart, and he has all but given up when he is sent back to Africa where he is about to have another life-changing experience.

Davis intricately weaves together these two narratives, following the threads of each of these character’s lives, and looping them together into a beautiful tapestry depicting an encounter between the developing and developed worlds.

Both of these characters have seen and endured many hardships and both of them struggle to maintain a sense of hope in a seemingly hopeless world.

By telling these stories as fiction, the author reminds us that there are countless children like Adanna who face similar circumstances every day. The character is a representation of many real people who live in hell on earth, have learned to make the most of it, and have hope that their lives will change for the better; if not in this world than in the next. Stuart is also a representation – of those of us in the Western world who have so much and take it for granted, only spurred into action when thrust into the middle of it.

Scared can be difficult to read at times. The stories are not pretty. However, there is a sense of truth and justice that comes through the words and makes this fictitious story authentic and movingly real. It is obvious that the author has a connection to this part of the world and the people who live there. It is worth reading and will make you reconsider your own response to the needs of others.

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