Book Review: "Scared" by Tom Davis

Stuart Daniels has hit bottom. Once a celebrated and award-winning photojournalist, he is 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. What seemed like a chance encounter will forever change their lives. This sweeping, dramatic story explores the most vital social issues facing our world and offers a unique perspective on the tragedies taking place in Africa today.

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 you aren't affected. VERY HIGHLY recommended.

Scared by Tom Davis is published by David C Cook (2009)

This review copy was provided by the publicist


  1. Thanks for posting a review of this book. I haven't heard of it before now. I will definitely see if my library has it. Great review.

  2. I've been thinking about getting a copy of this book just based on the trailer. Good review--I think I really want to read this book. :)

  3. Jason Scott1:55 PM

    I can tell you this book is an eye opening and will change the way you look at your life. I have read it several times. I also read Tom Davis blog the work he is doing is changing lives and you can be a part of it.


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