Great hope accompanied the movement of freed African-American slaves who migrated to Liberia. The Liberian national Constitution was a nurtured sprig from the American tree. Yet the African soil proved relentlessly challenging. Over the decades, Liberia became a morally bankrupt nation beset by criminality and vicious revolution. How could God save a young man in such a cauldron of chaos?
Jefferson Williams Kollie’s story is one of horror, despair, and deliverance. The degraded and revolution-torn African country of Liberia reduced a boy’s life to brutal survival. The once-promising nation was now threatening both body and soul. Yet somehow Jefferson found hope and life. Read how one young man confirmed God’s radical emancipation, in his new home of Australia.
A thoroughly well-researched, historically accurate portrayal of the incredible life of a man, his family and his country. Neil’s ability as a wordsmith shines through as he takes readers from the depths of human depravity to a place where hope soars as on the wings of an eagle. One man’s hope, against all odds, found only in Christ.
— Benjamin Swift
Excellent piece of writing. Very visual. Cinematic. And of course the back-story is horrific.
— Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh
Just finished reading your Jefferson’s Tears, a Biblical boomeranger of a book. Excellent research and a gripping read, dramatic motion as Christian faith is taunted and tested; can one Jefferson’s inspirational words rescue another from his personal hell? Brutality spans the ages with global consequences, in parallel with the bloody birth of a nation. From America to Africa — blood, guts, chains, and liberty, punctuated by bullet-point action. Ask not for whom Jefferson shed his tears; wake up and smell the real coffee.
— Stuart McKinlay
Australians! Who are we? Most of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Apart from the relatively small indigenous population, our citizens have overseas origins. In the main we are a peace-loving society; we value our defense forces which keep our shores safe from the excesses of foreign influences which would otherwise curtail the great freedoms we often take for granted. Our news bulletins are continually reporting wars, conflicts, civil unrest, and a host of other events, including natural disasters, that tear people’s lives apart in many parts of the world. Often our reaction is one of indifference; our hearts are hardened by the constant bombardment of these disheartening reports and it is much easier to treat them impersonally, so we can more easily dismiss them from our minds. Facts and figures about horrifying deaths, physical, mental and emotional scarring and injuries, destruction of housing and food sources, things we would normally find harrowing, are pushed aside as we become more and more inured to these devastating events.
Jefferson’s Tears, Neil Cullan McKinlay’s latest novel, changes our outlook on human suffering from mildly sympathetic to wildly empathetic, as we are exposed to the experiences of the intriguing protagonist Jefferson Williams Kollie. Jefferson is just nine years old when he is introduced to the reader; he is experiencing depravity and suffering that beggars belief. As the story unfolds we are subtly informed of the historical backdrop to the novel and given a close-up picture of Jefferson’s family life. McKinlay artfully draws on the readers’ emotions as Jefferson’s life unfolds, revealing a surprising, resilient Christian faith in spite of his witnessing ruthless and brutal human behavior.
McKinlay’s story, Jefferson’s Tears, is well told; the distressing events are tempered with humorous anecdotes without detracting from the underlying serious nature of the overall thrust of the narrative. A great read, an encouragement for Christians, and thought-provoking for those seeking a more meaningful life.
— Peter F. Pike Editor, FreeXpresSion