The Family Guide: Deliverance from the Pits of Death
Lawrence T. Francis, BSN, RN, MPHG
Outskirts Press (2014)
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (12/14)
Lawrence T. Francis, in collaboration with Pauline, Lydia, and Deneah Francis, recount the story of their family’s experiences in Liberia in the years prior to, and during the Liberian Civil War. It is their desire that “The Family Guide – Deliverance from the Pits of Death” will offer courage and hope to others facing similar experiences.
Francis writes based on the premise that regardless of the circumstances surrounding the locality, station in life, or the heritage of our birth parents; this is only the beginning of our life journey. He goes on to consider and illustrate how the journey that follows are “climbing steps.”
The book details these four steps through his life, the life of his parents, and the details surrounding his family at the time of his birth, childhood, formal education, his marriage, and the ensuing years of raising his own family. He describes the impact of these “climbing steps” on the difficulties, successes and disappointments in life.
Although I followed the news reports of the bloodshed at the beginning of the civil war in Liberia in 1989, it was with a distanced surface understanding of the issues involved. Francis captures the reality of the atrocities of ritual murders, human sacrifice, death, and displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. I was shocked to learn of the political abuse leading up to the uprising.
Along with the background information, Francis interjects sage wisdom and lessons he learned through the dramatic uncertainties and turmoil of daily life in Liberia. Dozens of photographs throughout the narrative add a dimension of interest of the reality of life in Liberia.
Short stand-alone chapters, difficult African names, and different writing styles, (as various writers contributed data), at times made the story line difficult to follow, as well as some repetition of information.
The lack in a literary writing style will be overlooked by many readers because of the authors’ genuine sincerity and the passion of their stories. “The Family Guide: Deliverance from the Pits of Death” by Lawrence T. Francis is a wakeup call and reminder of the horrendous tragedies being experienced in war torn countries around the world today. It is the prayer of the authors that the reader will find and an inner peace for the individual, and join in prayer for world peace.