Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: The DMZ by Jeanette Windle

My laundry didn't get folded this week.  I had every intention of getting caught up on that chore, but one evening I was rocking the baby and I picked up a book to read for awhile.  The DMZ, by Jeanette Windle, was a really thick book.  I knew I needed to review it, but I kept waiting for some extra free time (and being caught up on chores) before starting to dig into its 512 pages.  I didn't get very far into it that first night, but I did get hooked on the story.  I've been reading it in my spare time ever since ... thus the unfolded laundry.


The DMZ centers around Julie Baker, a young reporter who had been a missionary kid in Colombia.  Having been raised in the Amazon rainforest of Colombia, it has been seven years since she left Colombia at the age of sixteen, following her parents' death.  She returns to chase down a story, hopefully a Pulitzer prize-winning story.  But, she didn't realize that "quick" journalism trip would overwhelm her as she struggles with her grief, her anger, her faith in God, her love for Colombia and its people, and her very survival.


This book begins with an introduction to the supporting cast, and the setting.  Readers don't meet Julie Baker until page 71, but they do find themselves thrown into the middle of a dangerous and unknown situation in Colombia that has taken the lives of several American citizens.  Someone is hiding something in the DMZ (demilitarized zone) and Julie Baker, and the US government, want to know what is going on deep in the Colombian rainforest.  With guerrilla forces, paramilitary forces, Colombian and US military forces already involved in the area,  there is also an unknown element endangering the people of Colombia.


Even though the book begins with a history of the complicated political situation in Colombia, I was still hooked from the beginning.  Maybe that's because I was stationed in Panama with my military family as a teen, so the setting had greater interest to me.  By the time I met Julie Baker on page 71, I was invested in exploring the mystery with her.  This is the best book I've read this year!!  As I read it, I kept wondering how much was truth and how much was fiction, as it all seemed so real and plausible.  That realism is a testament to Jeanette's familiarity with Colombia, as well as her extensive research.  Originally written in 2001 (completed on September 11, 2001) and published in 2002, the copy I was reading is a re-release.  Yet, even 10 years later, this book is still current and realistic.


Even more important, it is a truly CHRISTIAN book.  The characters wrestle with deep questions about their faith and the ugliness of this world we live in.  As they work through these feelings and confusion, their conversation presents the gospel and God's truth in a way that is entirely natural and compelling.  It didn't feel forced or preachy, but it showed the deep faith of the characters as they dealt with their hurts and the harsh reality of the situations they faced in Colombia.  The author doesn't offer us easy answers and trite platitudes through her character's lives, either.


The DMZ is a political-suspense book filled with mystery, action, history, romance, and a strong Christian foundation.  Its exotic setting introduces you to a new country, as well as the varied people who live there.  Jeanette Windle truly brings both Colombia's beauty, and its ugly side to life.  She weaves the beliefs and philosophy of its people into the story with artistry and ease.  I highly recommend The DMZ ... add it to your summer reading list!

Title:  The DMZ
Author:  Jeanette Windle
Publisher:  Kregel Publications
Format:  Paperback
Genre:  Suspense Fiction
Price:  $16.99
ISBN:  0-8254-4118-8


This book was provided free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.  No other compensation was received, and this is my honest opinion.


April E.

1 comment:

  1. When I read a lot of people's book reviews, I skim through them in 1-5 seconds.

    But this book sound great! Maybe it's the way you described it, April, or because you've lived in Panama.

    I think I'll put this book on my wish list! Thanks. Sounds like a great read!



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