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TITLE: The Making of Tibias Ivory--Freedoms Quest
AUTHOR: D. Allen Jenkins
GENRE: Fiction
PUBLISHED: PublishAmerica
ISBN: 1-4137-3670-X
REVIEWER: Shari L. Armstrong

AVAILABLE FROM: www.tibiasivory.com

In The Making of Tibias Ivory, Mr. Jenkins paints a bittersweet portrait of first love between Bethany Ivory and Mahognus "Hog" Worthington. The story is set in the small town of Principle, Tennessee in 1968 and '69, a time of protests and unrest over Viet Nam and just months after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King (ironically, the reviewer was born during the time in which the book is set).

The story opens with the dedication of Bethany and Hog's son, Tibias, which foreshadows events to come. The reader will be drawn into the lives of these two young people, and back into high school, as their love blossoms--but it will prove to be a difficult journey for the young couple.

Bethany's father, Reverend James Ivory, is a strict and prejudiced man, despite being a preacher. Bethany went from being "daddy's girl," to rebelling, at the age of 12, against her father and all he stood for. She matures into an attractive young lady, and receives the attentions of many of the young men in school, especially after becoming the head cheerleader as a junior. Despite the attention, she only has eyes for Mahognus, a senior, but she has to keep it secret, as Hog is black and she is white.

In contrast, Hog's family--consisting of his mother (his father having left the family when Hog was only eight) and three sisters--are a very close-knit family, filled with love and respect. Hog finds a father figure in the Bishop Jericho, who helps Hog come to know the forgiveness found only in Jesus Christ. Hog was not only the star of the football field, but he would soon gain new attention after winning an essay contest sponsored by the town newspaper. His essay, "Real Freedom," along with his relationship with Bethany, would set changes into motion for the small town of Principle.

The story follows their relationship, conducted through letters and a few secret meetings. The two young people find themselves lying to their friends and families just to find time to be together. But, one pivotal event at the prom brings their relationship into the open and into jeopardy. The fallout leads to anger and violence, with sides taken by all the residents of Principle, leading to families and friendships being torn apart. But it also leads to people learning to look beyond the color of another's skin to their character instead. The end result is one of hope and forgiveness.

Although there are some minor typographical errors throughout the book, the value of the story far outweighs these editing issues. Readers should also note that there are violent scenes and the "N" word is used, sparingly, but both are, unfortunately, accurate portrayals of the time in which the book is set. Hopefully, through books such as The Making of Tibias Ivory, people will learn from our sad history and learn to look beyond skin tone, and see each other as fellow children of God.