Monday, March 31, 2008

Review: Betrayed by J.M. Windle

Read the book synopsis.

When I was in fifth grade, I remember learning about World War II and the US involvement in it. I have this really distinct memory of reading about Pearl Harbor and this line from the text: "The United States had entered World War II." I got little chills and felt a surge of patriotic pride well up within me.

Fast forward to high school. I took two years of History of the Americas and learned about the history of Latin and South America. I wondered exactly where that patriotic pride went as I learned about how the best hopes for these countries were often crushed by our government's influence. They seemed trapped in a continual cycle of despair and we certainly were not helping.

I love the way Jeanette Windle handles these issues in this book. She doesn't paint a clear picture of blame, but rather one of individual responsibility. She depicts what seems to be overwhelming despair and sorrow, but makes this the clear theme of the book: "Do what is right. Do not give way to fear." I love that so much I'm thinking of making little signs to put around me to remind me to live in exactly that way.

This book is certainly very educational in regards to United States/Latin American relations. It's also a mystery and thriller so you get history, get to grapple with the problem of pain and the question of evil, all while being delightfully entertained! There's even a tiny bit of romance! And most importantly there is hope.

Thematically, Betrayed is rich, layered, and consistent.

I highly recommend this book. I really enjoyed it, but even more so I was challenged by it. What more can you ask of any book?

The old hymn, "This is my Father's World" runs throughout the book and no other song could have been so appropriate. I dug up this Fernando Ortega version from youtube for your enjoyment. I got goosebumps listening to it after just finishing the book. What a beautiful song!

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