America: The Search and the Secret 1998
America: The search and the Secret, a novel by James N. Sites, is the inspiring story of a young man growing up in a Tom Sawyer-like setting along the Ohio River. It is about coming of age in Appalachia and learning the ideas and ideals America lives by.
Through 12 action-packed chapters, Sonny Sebring, the main characters, searches for and finally discovers "the real America." The Central Appalachian area of Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia is Sonny's new home, and it is a place of traditional values such as hard work, dedication to home and family, strict "raisin'," tough schooling, religious devotion, neighborliness and love of country.
Sonny also discovers " The Four-Dimensional Human," which is an intensively developed individual with broad knowledge, cultural awareness, spiritual depth and a pervading concern for others.
The author proclaims this 4-D Human a grand alternative over what he sees as "the narrow, job-related objectives of a technology-driven, commercialized age."
all this makes AMERICA: The Search and the Secret a book for our time. It is a major contribution to the national debate over values. It's also an appealing, hope-filled guide for young people through our modern moral wilderness. It's a great story, too!
An autobiographical novel, Sites' AMERICA is based on true-to-life events. At age 10, the author was uprooted by the Great Depression from his home in Pittsburg and "farmed out" to his grandfather's place near Burlington, Ohio---at the juncture of Applalachia, the Midwest and the South. His mother sent him on his way with two daunting missions:
Search out the real America
Find the "ultimate secret of life"
Thus was Sonny launched on a seven-year journey of discovery. In the process, he fights flood and drought, getd switched in school and baptized in the river; almost drowns, nearly burns up, wrestles with death, falls in love, and prepares for war.
AMERICA: The Search and the Secret should be read by every teenager and young adult struggling to cope with our troubled world. And every concerned parent and grandparent should make sure this happens!