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Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World

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  • Posted June 15, 2009

    Haunting story of finding faith even in tragedy

    Scared by Tom Davis is a heartbreaking look at a world we spend much of our lives trying to ignore. Adanna is a 12 year old girl in Swaziland trying to make the best of the life God has given her. She cares for her two younger siblings when her mother is ill and tries to ignore the pains of hunger that color every aspect of her life. Stuart Daniels is a award-winning photographer best known for a photo of horrific violence that indicts him as an witness to horror. His inaction has haunted him in the years since, creating cracks in his marriage and nearly ending his career. He's given a last chance to redeem himself by returning to Africa and trying to capture the face of AIDS. In Adanna he may find the hope he needs to recover his faith in God and his life as well. Davis has taken his personal experiences in Africa and turned them into a powerful book that will capture readers' hearts. Adanna's story brings a real face to the tragic story of AIDS in a country that is devastated by deaths from the disease that in the US has become far more treatable. This is a novel that will not let go of readers' hearts.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    Hauntingly beautiful

    Last night I dreamed of a far away land. A land with a sun like a "giant ball of orange fire" and a sky like a "deep blue bowl filled with magical, milky fairy dust". So enthralled was I with Davis' novel that I dreamt that night of the beautiful but desperate land of orphan Adanna. It continues to follow me a week later. Davis weaves a fascinating, yet hauntingly real, story of Adanna and Stuart, giving us a unique perspective into the life of the people of Swaziland.

    As Stuart is challenged to examine his view of the world, so is the reader as they dive deep into Adanna's story.

    Davis' personal passion for orphans and Africa is evident. As a fan of his non-fiction books ("Fields of the Fatherless" and "Red Letters") I eagerly anticipated his first fiction work. "Scared" did NOT disappoint and will be a book I read again and again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Scared/Sacred

    I mentioned to a friend that I was reading the latest book by Tom Davis. "Oh, you mean 'Sacred'?" I replied, "No, it's called 'Scared.'" In retrospect, the book could easily be called either.

    As the protagonist, a photojournalist, heads into the midst of disease and starvation in Africa, he finds redemption and something sacred: a beautiful orphan. In his struggle to save her, he is himself saved. But it is certainly not in the way of his own choosing.

    Told very effectively through chapters of shifting first person perspective, Tom Davis takes us into a frightening world we don't want to know or see. But much like the protagonist, once we are there, we find for ourselves something Sacred...and we are no longer Scared.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2009

    A powerful, extraordinary novel - the best I've read in years.

    Tom Davis' first novel grabbed me by the throat and refused to let go. I no longer sat in a comfortable chair in my bedroom merely reading a book; I bumped along in a jeep on dusty clay roads, inhaled sweaty fear, witnessed atrocities that provoked gut-wrenching despair and anger, and grieved over inhumane conditions that pound innocent families on a continent plagued with disease and corruption.

    Sweet little Adanna, already fatherless and literally starving, faces the unthinkable when her mother becomes gravely ill. Frightened yet determined to provide a meal for her two younger siblings, Precious and Abu, Adanna innocently brings horrendous calamity upon herself in her desperate search food.

    Into this hostile environment Stuart Daniels, a world renown, award-winning photographer arrives. A decade earlier Stuart nearly lost his life photographing the violence that, unthinkably, continues to worsen in the heart of Africa. That trip was the beginning of the end for him. He's all but dead on the inside, his marriage is slowly dying and he is on the brink of losing his job. Drawn back to the very place that stole his soul, Stuart can't help but wonder what on earth he's doing in this god-forsaken corner of the world.

    SCARED is authentic, intense, and in-your-face. It stops short of demanding action on the part of its reader, but you won't be able to help yourself. Warning: Tom Davis' powerful novel will make you rethink your life. And it just might save some.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

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    I Also Recommend:

    One of those books that you can't put down and will never forget!

    A must read for everyone! The story captured my heart and engaged my mind from the very first chapter. I couldn't put it down until I was finished. It has been along time since a book grabbed me like this. Tom Davis brings the characters alive and makes them real. This leaving you with the great sense that you actually know them. This book brings the crisis of all these beautiful children in the country of Swaziland orphaned by AIDs but it also reveals the real crisis going on in the homes and hearts of many of us here at home. Many will identify with his American character. This will be a best seller. A real life changer! I've already ordered copies for my friends and familes.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2009

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    Truly an inspirational and life-changing novel!

    Tears were flowing down my cheeks through a good portion of the book. I don't recommend reading this in public because you'd have a hard time getting past the lump in your throat to explain just what it was that evoked that level of emotion in you. I'm not exaggerating. You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be emotionally moved when you read Scared. The entire time I read this book I was in Africa right along with the characters. That's great writing.

    While the abuse and poverty were disheartening to experience through the story, the way people who loved God reached out with the little they had was truly uplifting. Evocative and intense, Scared cuts deep into your heart as you read along. Healing fills the pages, yet there are no easy answers given, and it shows how each day is a struggle for the people of Swaziland to even survive. That's why the orphans and the widows need people who care. I loved how Scared showed that many of the sick and dying were truly victims of AIDS through no wrongdoing of their own. This book should be an award winner for the message alone. Seriously.

    I've rarely experienced this level of realism in a novel, especially in the CBA. It's so realistic, it's downright edgy - but to the extreme. Like the Holocaust, there are some awful things that happen in this book. Unspeakable things. But it also shows how God holds those who suffer close to His heart. You see that in this book in a way that is rarely portrayed in Christian fiction. All of the ugly stuff is not smoothed over, nor is the God-given compassion.

    When the people who were starving literally danced with joy when offered a meager ration of food, it really touched me. We have so much in this country, yet we are so ungrateful. Gratitude is definitely a missing element in most people's lives in the United States. We'd be so much kinder to each other if we were truly grateful for the gift of salvation we've been given, and for the many undeserved blessings that God has granted us. One way to thank Him is by showing love in action and not just in our words.

    Truly beautiful themes permeate this story and will stay with you long after you finish. Here's the bottome line... Scared portrays how the love and integrity of one pre-adolescent girl changed an entire nation. That left me breathless. Oh, and I'll never say I'm starving again. One caution, though. I'd be careful about reading this novel if you have a weak stomach or if atrocities like rape will give you flashbacks. It's graphic and harsh in some places but sooo worth reading!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2009

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    Scared book review

    This book is very well written. Tom Davis really makes you feel like you are right with the characters as the story unfolds. Once you start you won't want to put it down, so give yourself some time to finish it. All the surprises in the story will keep you on the edge of your seat. Just when you think the situations can't get any worse, they do. But the ending brings wonderful and life changing news for the characters. This also isn't a book you just read and forget. It is one that will challenge you to act after hearing the heartbreaking realities of what these people have to go through on a daily basis. They don't have food, they don't have clean water, and they don't have a safe place to stay. Most children living in Africa don't even have parents, or any other family members to love them, because most have died from HIV/AIDS. They are all alone, they are scared. The characters in this story are able to bring hope to a community in Swaziland by providing the food they needed to survive. This book will open your heart to the needs of these people, and leave you with a strong desire to also bring hope to the hopeless. And you can! So, if you are up to the challenge go read this book, and after you read it share it with everyone you know. This message needs to get out there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    Oh my

    Had me on the edge of my seat the whole time! Though sometimes the never ending details left me confused.

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  • Posted June 3, 2013

    This book is a real eye opener. Most people have no idea how luc

    This book is a real eye opener. Most people have no idea how lucky and blessed they are. It's so hard to fathom how people in other countries live. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Ninja rp os jere?

    Is it gonna be active

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Phantom Cyre

    I lean against a tree, one hand in my pocket and the other holding my scythe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    Dove that rides on wind (Dove)

    "W-" Dove was interrupted by a voice."take her to wildpaw first result, Rainfang. You have done a excellent job."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    Highly recommended - a real look at life for many in Africa

    This book opened my eyes and heart to the children as well as adults in Africa. It brought the reality of the desperate needs of a people who while they need our help, still need to be respected as another human being and allowed to learn wise responsibility. It's a worthwhile read.

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  • Posted February 28, 2010

    Grab some tissues!

    Looking for a book that will challenge you and make you feel uncomfortable? I wasn't but it turned out to be exactly what I needed. A few months ago, I won a contest on Anne Jackson's blog to be one of several people to receive a copy of "Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World" by Tom Davis. I hadn't heard of Mr. Davis but I thought I'd give his novel a chance.

    Scared is a story about a photojournalist named Stuart Daniels. His life has hit rock bottom after witnessing and photographing the brutality in the African Congo. Stuart is sent on one last mission to redeem his career to a small African country that is in the middle of the AIDS crisis.

    He visits a village of young orphans and widows. In particular, he meets a little girl named Adanna. She has been forced to grow up quickly after her father left and her mother died. She is the sole caregiver for her younger siblings, Precious and Abu. Stuart is challenged to bring real hope and restoration to Africa through Adanna's story.

    "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 was in tears over this book. It is such an emotional read as the author describes the harsh reality of a community that is "ravaged by tragedy and disease". My eyes were opened to a part of our world I'd never even considered. Because of it being such a tragic yet redemptive story, I'd recommend not reading this book in public unless you have tissues near by! I cannot wait until Mr. Davis releases his next book in this series: "Priceless: A Novel On The Edge Of The World" in June of 2010.

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  • Posted November 25, 2009

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    Extremely Powerful

    With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, one does a lot of thinking about what they are thankful for in their life. For many, it's family or having a job or the material things they own. But have you ever been thankful for being alive and well? We as Americans take our way of life for granted. We have so many freedoms that we just immediately dismiss yet there are millions of people all over the world who are suffering and would give anything to have just one thing of ours that we so casually discard. This book really makes you think about what you have and what thankfulness really mean.

    Stuart is a photographer who is searching for that perfect shot. He's having some marital problems and leaves for Africa with things unresolved between him and his wife. He had previously won a prestigious journalism award for a photo he had taken several years ago that depicted the tragedy of death and it's affected him ever since. Now in Africa he sees how the people are ravaged by AIDS, starvation and the children who have to suffer for it. Mixed in with Stuart's story is the story of a 12 year old Swazi girl named Adanna. Her story is absolutely heartbreaking. I can't describe it, you have to read it to know the full impact.

    The contrast between the rich and the poor were incredible. Stuart sees both worlds. He ate the best food at the hotel, better than almost any restaurant in the US with steak and dessert. Then the next day he sees women weeping because their child has died from starvation. When Stuart realizes how much just a little bit of food from the local store helps out, he and his friend buy what they can to help out the village. One scene in the book that really interested me was when a so called charity comes the village and pretty much does a photo shot. They act like they're about to pass out tons of food but in reality they are just getting publicity to send back home to get more funds. The funds are clearly going into the pockets of the charity and NOT to help out the people. This is something one should always look into before donating, make sure you know exactly where the money is going.

    This is a book that everyone should read. It's totally eye opening and really makes you think about what you have vs what others don't have. It's an intense book. I felt really guilty for being able to eat a PBJ sandwich while reading and thinking about how there are so many people who would literally die for a piece of that sandwich.

    This book is not preachy at all. It's classified as Christian fiction and faith is obvious throughout the book. However the message about Africa, AIDS and the orphans take a much bigger precedence. This book really opened up my eyes to the plight of other countries and does make me want to go do something about it one day. I'm not sure right now exactly what that is, but I do know that I want to make a difference. While reading this book, I was reminded of a video I watched at church that stated that even though we don't realize it, if we live in the US or any western country, we are rich. Rich means being able to have a clean drink of water or have a roof over our heads. This book clearly makes you realize how much we have to be thankful for in our lives. Like one of my friends on Twitter said, I wish this was a book that Oprah would include in her book club as it's a book that everyone should read because of the powerful message it carries. I challenge you to read it and see if yo

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  • Posted July 7, 2009

    Reality Brought Home

    When readers open a book they hope to be at least distracted. The worst books annoy but the best send readers into new realms. They laugh, weep, cry, and hate along with the characters and happily spend a sleepless night to live in this other life. Scared is one of those books; but this new life isn't pretty. Tom Davis has created a gut-wrenching book that is both simply told but chocked full of the dark and light realities of life itself.
    This is the story of Stuart Daniels, haunted by everything he has seen in Africa as he goes about photographing for newspapers. As scarred as a post traumatic stress disorder victim, his life is skidding out of control. He's last chance assignment is to go and take pictures for a series of stories about how AIDS has crushed the people of a small African nation. Once there, he is exposed to the naked, horrible truth. Yet, it takes a young girl and a national disaster to begin to change our hero.
    This book is amazing. The story itself is well-told and would make the book good in itself, but the storytelling is just the beginning. It is the reality and believability of the story; the knowing that this could be true, that makes the book so fantastic. From an armchair in Kentucky, the reader is transported to Africa with vivid details and forced to remember 'there but for the grace of God go I'.
    Our writer, Tom Cook has lived that life. He is a college-educated preacher who has seen first hand the horrors of the world for orphans in Africa. Scared is a story based on the experiences he saw and still continues to see in the Africa crippled by AIDS. He knows children, quite like our main African character, staving to death as they try to care for other siblings. To try to stem the outpouring of suffering, Cook has created Children's Hopechest, a charity organization to aid orphans in Eastern Europe and Africa. To find out more, go to www.HopeChest.com or www.ScaredtheBook.com.
    Read this book and sob, first for the tale and then for the reality. After you're done, think what you can do to help the suffering. All it takes is one.

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  • Posted July 3, 2009

    Fantastic Read

    I finished reading Scared by Tom Davis three days ago. I am just now sitting down to write my review because the book left me speechless.
    Scared, Davis' first novel, is the story of two people from completely different worlds who meet under the most difficult of circumstances. Stuart Daniels is an American photojournalist traveling the Swazi countryside in search of the shot that could redefine his failing career. Adanna is a 12 year old Swazi orphan who is in search of hope after being left to parent her younger siblings. Their unlikely meeting may not be exactly what they were looking for, but it is just the thing that they both needed to find.
    Through Stuart and Adanna's journey, Davis delivers a very graphic account of the effects that poverty, violence, and HIV/AIDS have had on the African people. But this is more than a shocking story of brutality. Through richly developed characters and expertly crafted narrative Davis turns a story of despair in to a heartwarming, sometimes painful message about the undeniable power of grace and hope.
    Tom Davis' personal experience as pastor, orphan advocate, and father is written on every page as he challenges readers with the James 1:27 call. As an orphan, I share Davis' heart and am grateful that he has brought his work in the field to millions of homes and book clubs through the telling of this important, moving story. His unique perspective brings this novel to life and leaves the reader wondering what he or she can do to reach the edge of the world.

    To learn more about this book read my interview with Tom Davis at http://www.nicolewick.com/2009/06/featured-author-tom-davis/

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    Posted November 16, 2012

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    Posted November 14, 2012

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    Posted June 9, 2009

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