John Torres kindly sent me a copy of his book, The Plentiful Harvest to review.
And then he waited very patiently for me to get my $tuff together and actually read it.
It was difficult for me to read this book, because I made the mistake of reading the back cover first. It said, "blah, blah, blah, travels to Jabra in southern Sudan, blah, blah, blah, meets Jenelle, blah, blah, blah, Their happy time together is cut short when an army from the north invades the area, ruthlessly killing men, women, and children, and Jack is thrust into the role of saving what remains of the world that Jenelle revealed to him."
Ooooh. A serious book, about serious things, for grown ups. Not usually my thing. But I persevered, determined not to let John down.
Despite some initial frustration with the lack of commas on the first page, I fell for Jack, who I think would be cast by either the late Chris Farley, or the late John Candy in the movie version of this book. Jack is overweight and unemployed in Brooklyn, 1983. His girlfriend dumps him in chapter one. He's about to get cut off from his unemployment benefits, when he decides to answer an ad in The Economist for an airport directorship in south Sudan.
A series of well described mishaps cause Jack to actually get hired for the position on the very day he gets evicted from his apartment.
He moves to Jabra, takes over the airport, meets the lovely Jenelle, rediscovers his Catholic faith, is about to propose to the girl and live happily ever after when BAM! Sharia law is passed and a murderous army systematically tears through the country destroying villages and everything in their way.
Long story short: no graphic descriptions of horrific violence. Scary scenes: yes, but not nearly as scary as that book by Immaculee Ilibagiza, Left to Tell. Of course Immaculee's book is the true story of the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and The Plentiful Harvest is historical fiction set during the Sudanese civil war of 1983. Both are actual events that I sadly knew little about.
The Plentiful Harvest is an inspiring tale of sweetness and courage, appropriate for teens and older. I'm really glad I read it. And I wouldn't mind reading more about Jack. Thanks, John.