I did it. I judged a book by its cover. A little over a year ago I began to notice that Amazon kept recommending the same book to me: Liberation by Wanda B. Campbell. I was annoyed to say the least; in the past I have read books by authors that I’d never heard of only to feel grossly disappointed. I did not want to invest $2.99 plus tax (yes ONLY $2.99) to read Liberation. I took a brief look at the cover, scoffed and purchased other books. I was positive that Liberation was a book about unrealistic drama and love triangles with bland caricatures of real people. What kind of name was “Liberation” anyway? I was fine ignoring the book and living in my comfortable world of reading, but for months Liberation kept being recommended to me. I maintained my condescending attitude until I stumbled across a book entitled Silver Lining on my public library’s ebook database.
Silver Lining is a book that deals with what happens to two families after they battle the demons of addiction. I was expecting to read a standard story of recovery, but what I found was so much more. From the first page I was sucked into a story that mixed the subjects of healing, forgiveness, love, faith, Christianity and humor in a way that I have never seen. Many times former addicts are given the prodigal son treatment in literature, being received with open arms and welcomed without question. Or former addicts are shown as untrustworthy deadbeats; in Silver Lining neither is used. Instead, the two main characters Marlissa Scott-Jennings and Leon Scott are portrayed as humans who are facing the aftermath of their mistakes. While each works to change their situation it is made clear by the end of the book that nothing would be possible without hard work, understanding, faith and belief in God. When I finished reading Silver Lining I was hungry to read more books by the author, not finding any on my library’s database, I turned to Amazon. After I had typed in the name of the author I purchased the first book I saw, First Sunday in October, and began to read.
As I was while reading Silver Lining, I was enamored with the author’s style of writing. I finished the book in several hours and greedily searched for another. As I scrolled down past the two books, I’d previously read I was shocked at the next book listed: Liberation. I double-checked the name of the author with the two previously books only to feel pure shame. I sheepishly purchased the book and began to read. Little did I know, I was beginning what would become my most favorite book of all time.
In Liberation we are introduced to Shannon Yates, a young woman who is determined to stay true to the new woman she has become after giving her life to Christ. As the story builds we see Shannon navigate the world with a new perspective, she has received through salvation. I do not trust myself enough to summarize too much more about Liberation without giving away the storyline of the book. However, I will say this- Wanda B. Campbell is an extremely talented author who’s blessed with the gift of creating honest characters. In Shannon Yates, she has developed a relatable character that lives through painful growing pains that nearly every young woman can relate to. After reading Liberation, I cannot think of a better cover or title for the book.
Every time I read Liberation ( I reread it frequently), I am reminded of how I almost missed out on discovering my favorite book by being closed-minded. Those of us who own ereaders are aware of the high volume of books published by authors who we may be unfamiliar with. That does not make their work any less valuable than the work of a familiar author. Since reading Liberation, I too have been liberated from my thinking and have discovered numerous works by authors I have looked over in the past. The adage remains true, never judge a book by its cover.