Book Title: Doom, Gloom, and the Pursuit of the Sun by Antoine F. Gnintedem
Category: Adult Fiction, 208 pages
Genre: Biographical Fiction
Release date: February 7, 2018
Tour dates: June 11 to 22, 2018
Content Rating: PG (Two f-words, some mild profanity, and mild religious expletives such as "damn", "hell" and "Oh God!", some depictions of brief sexual content.)
The town is famous in the region for its chronic stillness...Consequently, every ambitious person who grows up there eventually leaves in search of better opportunities.
Life in Mbengwi, Cameroon, is not easy for Austin-or for anyone else. While growing up, he bears witness to the worst parts of life and the cruelties of human nature. These things keep his homeland trapped in a cycle of misery and suffering. In a country overrun by poverty, death, unrest, and corruption, he sees no future for himself. The only way to escape the cycle is to flee to a place Austin believes to be free of all these troubles, a place where he hopes his dreams will come true: the United States of America.
However, when Austin arrives in this supposed promised land, he is met with a crushing revelation. He finds America to be rife with all the same problems he thought he'd escaped, merely in different forms. Rather than give in to disappointment, he decides to combat these obstacles with a firm resolve. Before long, though, these obstacles threaten to overwhelm him. This realization prompts Austin to rethink how he sees the world and the challenges it throws at him.
Doom, Gloom, and the Pursuit of the Sun is a fictionalized autobiography that is engaging and kept my attention throughout. I enjoy books that are set in a country I know little about as well as immigrant stories as my parents were immigrants.
The first half of the book is set in Cameroon, where Austin grew up in a loving and hardworking family. He was a smart boy and succeeded well in school, making it all the way to university despite his family being poor and he not having bribe money to make his way there. I loved this part of the story as it depicted life in Cameroon, the culture, the corruption, and the unfair and deplorable conditions of the higher education system.
In the second half of the book, Austin is accepted in a teacher exchange program and moves to Mississippi. His host family is the principle of the school and they treat him well and with respect. Austin enjoys teaching in America even as he experiences culture shock and some racism. But women are attracted to him and he becomes very promiscuous. This gets him into trouble, a bad marriage and financial ruin. But Austin is a good man who is highly educated and he pulls himself through and finds happiness.
Overall, this was an interesting look into a young man's life from his childhood in Cameroon to his dozen years of new life in America. The title gives the impression of a dark and sad tale but that is not the case at all. Although Cameroon was a place of corruption and poverty, I felt the author depicted Austin's childhood with pride, honesty and humor. His life in America was good too, with Austin enjoying his teaching and opportunity to further his education. If he only would have kept his pants zipped, he could have avoided the misery that his actions caused.
This was an enjoyable story, easy to read, with the occasional overuse of adjectives, that will nonetheless please fans of memoirs and biographies.
To read reviews, please visit Antoine F. Gnintedem's page on iRead Book Tours.
Antoine F. Gnintedem is a renowned educator both in the United States and across the world. As a linguistic consultant, he has worked for the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, he has served as an educational assessment expert for leading national and international testing companies. His academic achievements include a PhD in English language and literature and another doctorate in educational leadership.
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