Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Age recommendation: Teens
Mark Cloud is a PK. His father, the pastor, moves his family for the umpteenth time, and to a small backward town called Fred. Mark is no stranger to being treated as an outsider in the various places he has stayed in, but he has never had it this hard to break the barrier and form close friendships. As time go by, Mark assimilates himself as best as he can in Fredonian culture and starts having doubts as to the existence of God. After four years, the family take a vacation to California. Mark can’t wait to meet the hippies and thinks that he will finally feel a sense of belonging with them. Of course, as always, things don’t go as planned.
Welcome to Fred is the funniest book I’ve read in a long time. The comical adventures Mark always lands himself in led me to laugh out loud several times (do you know how difficult it is not to grin, let alone laugh, when you’re sitting alone in the car with the door open and there’ someone passing by outside?).
Aside from all the hilarity, there are some important questions Mark asks that stands out in the book. Questions such as is the Bible real? What if there is no God? Yet, these questions do not overwhelm until the book is all about theology. They are so well seamlessly woven into the plot you don’t realize that this book touches on serious topics. There is a balance. This is what I love about Welcome to Fred.
The conversations in Welcome to Fred is very realistic. The slang and easy-to-go tones in the conversations made reading this book a breeze. One of my pet peeves when it comes to books is awkward conversations. Since this book is set in the hippie era, I picked up this book with a little trepidation as I did not know if the author could manage to write a convincing tone of the era or not. He nailed it.
All in all, Welcome To Fred is a fun and enjoyable read. The scrapes and problems that Mark faces! To add to that, he is such a likeable character. There is also the satisfaction of seeing him mature at the end of the book. I completed this book and put it back on my bookshelf with a smile on my face as I thought about one of the funny scenes. Now, if only I can get those funny scenes out of my head before I start walking about with a silly grin on my face!
Brad Whittington was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He is currently residing in Austin. Welcome to Fred is his first Broadman & Holman novel. Living with Fred and Escape from Fred is its two sequels published in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Whittington also published What Would Jesus Drink? What the Bible Really Says About Alcohol as an eBook in August 2011. Visit his website at www.bradwhittington.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”