Landry (Alive with Passion and Purpose, 2009) and Boye (Prophetic Intern, 2013) tell the true story of Effie Jones, prophetess and evangelist.
Born in Baxter, La., in the early 20th century, Effie was one of five children in an African-American sharecropper’s family. Her mother, with whom she was especially close, died of tuberculosis when Effie was 7, leaving her lonely. Things got even worse when an unloving stepmother entered their family. Effie’s hours in the fields mainly profited her white boss, so she also made crossties for the railroad to make extra money, and she was outperforming the men by the time she was 17. She married Jimmy, the first of six husbands, to break away from her family and her job, and this began an odyssey that took her from place to place, and from man to man, as she tried to escape abuse and unhappiness. She eventually moved west, to California, in an attempt to start over. Throughout her life, Effie said that she was visited by spirits and angels who saved her more than once, and she never lost her faith in God despite her hardships. Effie’s touching, engrossing tale is aimed at a Christian audience that may see her experiences as parables, but it may please other readers as well—particularly those who are interested in the lives of African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Her later relationship with Boye offers a clear portrait of Effie in old age, but Boye has a story of her own, which includes divorced parents and an alcoholic grandmother. However, her story is less compelling than Effie’s, and some readers may wonder why the authors chose to move the spotlight away from Effie at all. Boye’s questions and promptings to Effie lead to asides and explanations that are sometimes helpful, but they’re more often unnecessary, and may pull readers out of the mood created by Effie’s fine storytelling voice.
An often engaging portrayal of a remarkable African-American woman.