Title: Blinded by the Shining Path
Author: Dave & Neta Jackson
Series: Trailblazer Books
Major Themes: Missionaries, Peru, Romulo Saune
Synopsis: Taken into the Shining Path against his will, Alfredo longs to find out more about this Jesus he has heard about, but it doesn’t seem likely he’ll ever even have the chance to try.
Have you heard of Rómulo Sauñe before? I hadn’t, until I found Blinded by the Shining Path on Grandma’s shelves one day. This turned out to be a pretty quick read for me, but I found this account fascinating.
As a youngster, all Alfredo Garcia wants is to have a safe, happy life with his family. But when his father dies while trying to help the village men drive off robbers, and his brother decides to join the communistic guerrilla force named the Shining Path, his life seems to be falling apart. Then, accidentally and against his will, he finds himself part of the Shining Path himself. Will he ever be able to have a happy life again—be able to do things that don’t go against his conscience? And what about this Jesus-person that he learned about just before he went to the guerrilla camp—can He help him? What will happen when Alfredo is sent to kill the very missionary who told him about Jesus in the first place?
Although this story mainly follows the fictionalized account of Alfredo’s life—from the time his father died until he was unwillingly working for the Shining Path—it also tells a dramatic story of one brave missionary and how he tried to help his own people. Not only did Romulo Saune help translate the Bible into the Quechua language, but he also took The Jesus Film around to remote villages to share the good news of the Gospel. Although he died shortly before his 40th birthday, his work made an impact on his Peruvian people, and many still remember him today as a brave Christian who faced extreme danger in order to share Jesus with those who needed to hear.
I enjoyed this look into the life of a Christian I hadn’t heard of before. Simply for that historical value, I recommend Blinded by the Shining Path. However, it is also a fascinating adventure story, and since the book has been laying around recently, at least three different people have picked it up to read and seemed to enjoy it! Overall, if you want a fairly clean, Christian book with a dash of historical reality in it to hand to your children, this one (or another in the Trailblazer series) might be a good choice.
WARNING: Due to the subject of the book, there is some violence in this story. However, I did not find any of it overly graphic or offensive. Several examples of the violence in this story would include a priest being locked into his own church (chapter 4, page 42); a deserter from the Shining Path being killed (chapter 7, pages 67 and 68); and the Shining Path trying to blow a preacher up with dynamite (chapter 9, page 92).
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15