Saturday, March 28, 2009

Book Review: Guerrilla Hostage by Denise Siino

Guerrilla Hostage - The dramatic story of ray rising's ordeal in the Colombian jungle
by Denise Marie Siino

Someone I work with gave me this book, which is the story or Ray Rising's kidnapping and long captivity by Colombian guerrillas. I took interest because I remember my family praying for Ray and his family over those years, and I was interested to hear the full story. I also read the blog of the daughter of another missionary in Columbia that was kidnapped, but her father was killed.

Sadly, I was disappointed by Guerrilla Hostage. It seemed to brush over too much. At times Siino attempted to get into the details of the captivity, but at times it seemed trite. Siino was an LA Times reporter, and it came across like a reporter who was used to writing brief, emotionless story took on a huge drama that was way bigger and more dramatic then she knew how to write. There were scattered stories of Ray's interactions with particular guerrillas, but the characters remained flat and never became familiar, so the interactions were mostly boring. Although we hear of Ray missing his family, the author focuses more on documenting the story vaguely then really grappling with Ray's emotions and questions. They are just stated and then left there.

Ray has a Spanish Bible through almost all of his captivity, and Siino will punctuate her stories with little proof-text revelations. Something will happen, Ray will be confused and disappointed, and then he will think of a certain verse and then Siino gives a couple of sentence long Sunday-school lesson on what it means. I struggled with this because the way the book is written, it makes it seem as though these are particular times that Ray struggled with these particular questions and was answered with this particular scripture. However, he was a captive for nearly three years and he had to leave his journals behind when he left the jungle. It seems more like Siino fitting scripture into her own story and putting these revelations into Ray's mouth rather then Ray actually processing these things himself. It seemed... misleading?

In any case, given that Ray rising was kidnapped and held in the jungle away from his family for years, this story has such potential to be powerful, but instead it felt devoid of real emotion. I wouldn't recommend it unless you already know about Ray and really want to read his story.

1 comment:

  1. I have such vivid memories of those "Pray for Ray" cards. I remember talking to my mom about them and her explaining Wycliffe's policy on ransoms. I then added "my parents will be kidnapped and no one will pay the ransom" to my list of irrational fears.