Kill Daddy: Gerald Freeman
Within the world there are many who suffer great burdens, abuse, fears and have to decide whether they can live within their minds, create their own fantasies or leave the past behind and create a new future. Abuse of any kind will leave the victim both physically and mentally scared if both are inflicted upon him. As the pain from the past can become part of both the present and the future your life might take force you to regress, hide behind your fears, not allow you to forge ahead and prevent you from healing. Like a suitcase that is packed to the hilt and is overflowing with excess clothes, lives often overflow with too many sorrows, events and struggles that cause many suitcases and glasses filled with any liquid to overflow or flood. How can someone who has been beaten, insulted, abused and shunned feel worthy of just being alive? Kill Daddy brings to light the story of Gerald Freeman whose pain is felt as each blow is inflicted by this father, each insult is hurled as if it is a javelin throwing his disc, and his struggle to leave the past behind and find some hope and place in the future.
Gerald makes a conscientious discussion to leave the world he’s known for so long and lives in a desolate, remote and poor village in East Africa. Finding his way to many of these villages, living in poverty yet finding the companionship of friends that protect him from the first minute he steps off the plane, can he ever feel save? Can he ever smile again? How do you forgive what someone that is supposed to nurture and care for you did? When do you stop running and stand still? Do you, as he did, take drugs to lesson the pain and send you to what you might consider a better place? What about his friends that really cared for him? Would you kill the father that caused you all this pain? Enter the buses, meet the people and hear his voice as he travels throughout Africa hoping to find out just who Gerald really is.
Close your eyes and picture the villages, see the animals, understand the poverty of Uganda and Kenya. Scratches your arms as the mosquitoes bite, malaria takes hold of your body, guns go off, robberies and learn what many African’s endure and live through daily. What would make someone feel as if he’s a devil child? Why would someone want to be alone and push aside people and not develop any real relationships? When drugs and alcohol becomes your best friend and the people that you meet and are around you want to help you don’t let them? Why?
When reading this compelling novel you will enter East Africa and you will learn about the people, take the many trips to the remote villages and feel as if you are experiencing it along with Gerry. A father who despised him and a life that was unbearable the author shares his life from Portugal and then to Nairobi in Eastern Africa.
As the author assimilates himself within the many different villages he decides to remain in one with a family that is loving, giving and makes him feel safe. Differences in culture and customs do not get in the way as Gerry begins to realize that all people just might be the same but live in different places. Developing a sense of calm and peace takes time but when things get stressful he hides behind the alcohol, forgets his present and sometimes regresses into the past. But, something happens and he begins to realize that he needs to be kinder to people, develop more friendships and allow himself to share and trust. Living with people who have so little yet give so much teaches him many lessons. Waiting for a bus and seeing his friend Becky who came to visit him, betrayed his friendship he knew that trust was part of living as he states but can he ever forgive?
With his two new closest friends Kib and Ote the author finds himself pulled into the culture, the life and the way of living in Kilifi and many other places. When someone close to the family he’s staying with dies he learns about their burial customs and realizes that he needs to respect their ways. From Nairobi, which he did not like, the matatu or bus to the people who love and live in Kilifi the author immerses readers deep inside the culture of these Africans, learns about why women use sex as a means to get money. Like the barter system in some ways thinking white men are rich and knowing that sex would mean getting a meal. As payment it is expected that the male take the woman out for breakfast. When Gerry does not he soon learns why Chantel is angry and has to develop the mind-set of these people.
Can he ever forgive and let go of his past? Will he forgive his father, mother and stepfather for what they did to him? Kenya proved dangerous and Uganda quite different as the author witnesses some horrific scenes. At times he questions himself as he does in Kenya reviewing his life before, remembering the horrors when he was in Ethiopia, the rape and the dead woman and what happened when he was with his friend Simon. Learning just how some wanted the best for the people and others wanted to profit, Gerry learns many hard and fast lessons. But, the most compelling one would be when he realizes that he is not evil, his parents feelings about him were wrong and his life did not need to be spent dwelling on the past. As you read Chapter 13 you will learn more. Hoping to create his own business in Africa wanted to do his artwork and establish himself little did he know that someone he briefly met with change his life even before he arrives back home? Meet the families he stayed with hear the voices of the children and listen as they each show him the love that his own family did not. Finding himself in one specific village the Mayor wanted to meet him and got him to agree to teach the children English. Dalila made him feel like one of her children and the rest of his journey you need to experience for yourself as Gerry finally learns the true meaning of family, caring and much more. Find out what happens on Christmas Day. Learn about the promises he makes the family that took him in. Hear the guns go off. See the victims of violence and experience his last moments before making his journey to find his friend. Where is he now? What happens that would shake anyone to the core? Does he still want to Kill Daddy? You decide when your read this outstanding memoir of a young man who ran away to escape his best, himself and just might have found who he really is. Like a sponge that is filled to the brim with water and you slowly squeezes the water out until there is nothing left. What happens to Gerry just might leave all the water in the sponge making him whole, strong and never having to worry about anyone squeezing it out leaving nothing inside? Told in the first person narrative by the author himself take the journey from start to finish and learn about the many villages in Africa, appreciate the culture, make sure you have your malaria pills and meet the amazing people that helped Gerry become stronger and rid himself of his insecurities and strengthen his future.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer