SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY: SUMMARY

Surely Goodness and Mercy centers on a remarkable and brilliant young boy from Newark, NJ who lives with his physically and verbally abusive Aunt Alneesa after the brutal murder of his mother. Bullied by his fellow classmates and made to feel “useless” and “invisible” by his Aunt, Tino finds comfort and guidance from The Bible.

He also forms friendships with two people who can identify and relate to his troubled upbringing. First, Tino befriends a young girl named Deja. Unlike the rest of his classmates,  Deja shows kindness towards Tino and compliments him by calling him “smart” and “proper.” Tino also makes a connection with a Baptist Preacher who shares Tino’s reverence for The Bible and becomes somewhat of a spiritual guide to the young boy.

Finally, Tino forms a special bond with his mean and cranky lunch lady named Bernadette. Bernadette admittedly hates kids, but has a soft spot for Tino and his love of The Bible. She always asks if he has read The Psalms (her favorite portion of the Bible).

Sadly, Bernadette has a terminal and crippling illness, which she tries to conceal. However, Tino knows something is wrong and decides to research her symptoms. Tino strongly suspects Bernadette is afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis. Medical tests and doctors confirm his suspicions.

Deja and Tino form a fundraiser to help Bernadette with her exorbitant medical costs. Unfortunately, Alneesa finds out about the fundraiser and insists Tino give all the money to her. Unable to be manipulated, Tino bravely refuses his Aunt’s cruel request. Consequently, she beats the poor boy.

Tino runs away and starts living at his school. Bernadette, who was also abused as a child, lovingly invites Tino to live with her. She courageously approaches the principal of the school and advocates for the safety and well-being of Tino. In turn, the generous and unsuspecting Bernadette has a gift awaiting her.