The news of a man frozen to death on the front steps of a Georgia church sends a wake-up call to Reverend Samuel Matthews, his financial chairperson Phil Portman, and parishioner Alvin Smith. While each contemplates how the financially strapped Peachtree Street Church can reach out to the homeless, further complications surface when a sudden snowstorm cripples the Atlanta area. The three men have no idea that their decision to open the church’s doors as a shelter will make an unexpected impact in their lives.
Author Allen Madding, founder of the non-profit organization Feed the Hungry Forsyth, has a double purpose for writing his debut novel. Loosely based on his experiences while living and working in the Atlanta area, Madding wrote his debut fiction to raise awareness about homelessness and “the hundreds of churches around this country that have gotten caught up in paying the utilities and serving the folks inside their walls and have lost sight of the true mission of the church.”
Madding zeroes in on three key church members who are abruptly caught up in the throes of the ever-rising homeless community in their area. Amid his rich character development, Madding’s powerful use of paradox between those who have and those who have not is a major component driving his narrative. Madding includes an array of characters (not limited to the homeless) who not only seek the shelter of Peachtree Street Church, but also lend a helping hand to those caught in the storm. Building up to a climax that is more real than fiction, Madding gives readers a window into a community that bonds together in a desperate time of need.
Undoubtedly, SHAKEN AWAKE is much more than a riveting work of fiction. It is a human-interest story that should send a wake up call to all.