Reviewed ON Amazon.com in the United States on August 12, 2022
5 out of 5 Stars
Against the Tide is the story of Mike’s marriage to Charity, the difficult process of getting her African family to the United States. And once he got through that gauntlet, the heart-wrenching challenge of supporting a family of six (and soon seven, after Mike and Charity’s son James was born) provides a detailed view into the difficulties of raising a mixed-race family in the Pacific Northwest, as well as the kindness that the family found in certain quarters.
I wasn’t an active part of Mike’s life at this time, unlike during the years covered in the first volume and the third volume (not yet published). I was aware of his situation on a general level, as I had maintained a relationship of sorts with his mother, who kept me informed a bit. And I always knew where he was. But I had no idea how hard his life was and the level of commitment and struggle that he and his family endured.
As I read this volume, I remembered when I went with my father to Mike’s wedding to Charity. As we sat in the pew at Blessed Sacrament Church in Seattle, I whispered to my father, “This will never work.” I did not think the marriage to Charity and bringing the entire family over from Africa had a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving. And after reading the tale of that marriage, I suppose I wasn’t wrong in thinking that.
I found this volume fascinating to read, both because it is personal to me, and also because Mike has an evocative way of narrating his life.