Mark W. Sasse’s: Love Story for a Nation
Once in a lifetime you might meet the one person that makes you complete. What happens to Gerald Sanpatri is heartbreaking, joyous and yet horrific as he life takes on a desperate change when the land he lives in is no longer his own. What do you do when others control where you work, how you live and deny citizens health care and the basic necessities of life? What do you do when you fear for your life each time you go to work? Gerald Sanpatri learned that his wife of one year was having their child and he was joyous. But, he woke up late the next morning and did not arrive at the bank where he was a guard on time. Needless to say he was berated, chastised and placed on a longer run at guard duty and treated as if he had some type of disease. Forced to wait until the bank tellers, a job he performed too when allowed, reconciled their draws he left later than usual and ran into the wrath of a guard. Out past 9 or the time of the curfew he was hit quite hard and arrived home late. Rosia his wife was concerned but he failed to tell her what happened not wanting to upset her. But, handing over his ID to the guard was just one mistake as he was off the following day for July 4th and returning on the 5th was terminated from his job losing his healthcare and much more. His boss was more than just cruel and threatened him with arrest if he protested. In a world where you thoughts and wishes are stifled and fear is put in your heart how do you fight back against tyranny?
His friends Horace and Gomez come to his rescue but nothing can replace what he has lost including his self-worth and dignity. But, a secret that he lived with for so long comes out as a young student comes to visit and tells everyone about the books he wrote, the fact and reason they were banned and the children’s stories that could make him famous. He wanted to write a story to his son as the main character hoping that this story to Jonny would help him survive. After so much strife he leaves his home to find some work and returns to find Rosia having a seizure. Taking her to the hospital hoping for a miracle he not only loses her but his son too. As a result of her death he promises to write and create those stories that he wanted to dedicate to his son. Memories flash back of how he meets her but not before we witness more deaths, cruelties and the wrath of the ruler named Antoine who ordered the guards to start shooting into a crowd of people that were protesting. Night raids, killings, unwarranted attacks and Gerald has to decide if he wants to fight back or just do nothing.
Remembering his wife and son helps Gerald get stronger but when Horace, Gomez and others return and want to enlist his skills as a writer for their cause why does he turn them away? Deciding to become more proactive you might say he pens a story about his son Jonny and how he takes down the dictator and the guards when they are about to execute more people. The power held within the Red Ruby he gave his wife and where he places it after her death is quite compelling as is the story. “ Remember to just stand there and smile,” is what Gerald does standing outside on a red stone in front of the palace gate like a palace guard. On the anniversary of her death this change occurs then he packs up her clothes to give to others, the money given to him by his friends he gives to a neighbor and then he finds the journals left to him by his wife and this is where the story takes on a different turn. Lies, fear, hate, betrayals, revenge, death, loss and living in a country where you are not allowed to speak out how do you fight back? Through his writing he comes alive and through his son, the main character in his stories Gerald becomes stronger.
As secrets unfold and protests reach a breaking point, Gerald uses his pen to give life to his unborn child, and a future to a country he loves. Gerald stood everyday in the square on the red stone and just waited and waited for change. Kind, caring and yet strong in his motives and ways Gerald greeted each day rain or shines with a smile and hope that somehow he would make a difference. One day a young girl named Tari came to the square and a chain reaction happened as she brought many college students who brought their grey sacks along with Gerald’s, which contained his special stories that he wrote for Jonny. Each of their sacks had a pad and pencil and each day they wrote on them. His hope for change yet understanding that he lived in a place ruled by a dictator yet the palace guards would threaten his safety but never did anything. Each page and chapter are filled with Gerald’s hope and dreams for a new world and his stories that he wrote are part of a second piece that is quite compelling within this story.
Creating his book for his son and then getting confronted about the one that was banned years ago brought his presence to light but a simple conversation with Tari would anger him, cause him to question his wife’s allegiance to him and then a letter from Rosia would change it all. Jonny was stanch, brave and stood up to the tyranny that Gerald wanted to stand up to himself. Yet, just by standing in the square and holding his ground he stood up to those who lauded their power over him.
Gerald stopped writing when told he could not. He did what he wanted and then found himself living in a nightmare never realizing that he was making a difference but not in a violent way. The two plots come together that of the children’s stories and his real life drama as he learns a reality about his wife, her past and he disintegrates in more ways than one, as Gerald has to decide whether Rosia was truly his or not! The book reminds us that there are countries today where the people undergo the same type of tyranny and are held back. But, when the truth about Gerald is revealed and more people ban together with him the protection that he had once before just might crumble too. Gerald goes to the square and there are many people who support what he’s doing and he welcomes some surprise friends as the ending draws near and the final shots are sounded and the death toll rises. Just what happens at the end is more than just explosive and one man’s dreams will they come true? His writing got him banned from his job at the university and his strong opinions caste him into a job that was menial and meaningless. But when it is all given back to him what he does will surprise readers and make you stand up and join in his cause.
Gerald Sanpatri did not belong as a guard at the A.S. National Bank. How do you stand firm and keep smiling? Why does he see his son in different roles each time things happen? Why does he often trade places and become Jonny? Author Mark Sasse takes a simple man and turns him into a hero and teaches young people and adults that your voice can be heard in a calm and positive way without violence. A Love Story For A Nation: This one was written for all those who live and lived in Tyranny and wanted nothing more than change and freedom. Once again author Mark Sasse raises the bar and penned a novel so compelling and thought provoking that once you read this book you will want to read it again as I did. Some voices will not be silenced. Gerald’s won’t! Reoux : It held his soul. He could never leave! Read this poignant novel to learn why!
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews
This book gets five golden grey sacks to put five golden pads to pen another story for Jonny.