In his first novel, Tom Davis gives a face, a name and a story to the facts about AIDS and orphans that he reported on in two of his previous books, Red Letters and Fields of the Fatherless. Gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, repulsive yet redemptive in the end, this book will undoubtedly open the eyes of the reader to the injustices faced by many of the 150 million orphans who live on our planet. It is a difficult but necessary book to read.
The story revolves around an unlikely relationship between Stuart Daniels, an award-winning photojournalist who has lost sight of his life's purpose and Adanna, a young African girl who is prematurely forced into adulthood after AIDS claims the lives of both of her parents. Hunger, sickness and the worst kind of abuse are all part of her reality. While her circumstances are desperate, her spirit is strong. It is this quiet strength, along with the protection she receives from a gentle stranger she calls the "Illuminated Man”, which carry her through the atrocities inflicted upon her.
Although Scared is by definition a novel, it blurs the lines between fiction and non-fiction, telling the story of a real girl that Davis met while visiting an orphanage in Swaziland. If Scared was purely a work of fiction, it would be much easier to leave behind. However, the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of "Adannas" facing the same circumstances, makes it nearly impossible to read this book without being moved to respond. Davis capitalizes on this desire to act by sending people to the book's website www.scaredthebook.com where readers can meet the real-life Adanna and learn how to make a difference in the lives of orphaned children.
If Davis' goal was to compel his readers to take action, to speak for those without a voice, to defend the defenseless, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and to love the unloved, then he can definitely consider Scared a success.
This review was written by Tami Rumfelt, a board member for Caroline’s Promise, North Carolina and also radio host of WBFJ. Tami will be airing an interview she did with Tom Davis on WBFJ, Wednesday, August 5, at 8:40am and also on Friday, August 7 at 7:30am. To purchase this book you can go to our website http://www.carolinespromise4u.org/store/catalog/. The book is $15 including tax and shipping.