Mark Cloud is back in Fred, Texas but Fred is not the same and neither is Mark. He begins to ask troublesome questions. What would Jesus do if he was a teenage boy in a hick town? Would he play football and go deer hunting? What if his date humiliated him in front of the school? What if he was confronted with a lonely bootlegger? What if his newest disciple got roaring drunk? What if someone got away with murder? As his answers lead him further down the path of least expectance, Mark must choose between remaining faithful to his understanding of the gospel or appeasing the prejudices of those with the power to make his family pay for his decisions.
eBook extras: Reader's Guide, Preview of Escape from Fred
In this sequel to the Christy Award winning Welcome to Fred, Whittington improves on his earlier novel with a more cohesive, confidently written story set in the early 1970s, in which 16-year-old preacher's kid Mark Cloud finds a book in his church library that asks the now clich d but then fresh question, "What would Jesus do?" From that point on, via Mark's first-person narration, Whittington entertainingly and poignantly takes readers on a tour of Mark's last two years of high school. During that time, Mark and several other residents of the titular East Texas town attempt, in their own difficult situations, to do what they believe Jesus would do. Parker Walker, for example, whose alcoholism and abusiveness led to unspeakable tragedy in the first Fred novel, endeavors to emulate Jesus in a desperate search for redemption. Vernon Crowley, an alcoholic and a bootlegger, does as he believes Jesus would do when he stands trial for a murder he did not commit. And Mark, the enormously appealing, literate, self-deprecating young hero, also makes his own repeated attempts to be Christlike, often in situations that are simultaneously humorous and deadly. Whittington does an impressive job of focusing the novel thematically while letting its plot meander delightfully, and in doing so paints a satisfying, authentic portrait of late adolescence.