New Autobiographical Novel Depicts Haitian Teenager’s Pursuit Of His American Dream And A “Life Beyond Borders”

UNION CITY, Ga – Jean-Ervé Tonico’s debut novel “Life Beyond Borders” portrays a young man’s struggle to escape the appalling political and economical realities of life in Haiti.

Jean-Ervé Tonico was born in Haiti in 1961. In 1980, he reached the shores of Miami on a boat, illegally. Today, a U.S. citizen, he resides in Georgia with his wife and son. He is the father of two, and grandfather of one.

Five years after reaching the United States, Jean decided to spread his wings across the world. He worked for Pan American World Airways and currently Delta Air Lines as a flight attendant. He is also a licensed commercial pilot with an instrument and multi-engine rating.

Written as autobiographical fiction, “Life Beyond Borders” (Forward Press, January 2008, $14.95), tells the story of a Haitian teenager named Jacky who convinces his parents to let him and his brother make the treacherous voyage to the United States as “boat people.” Although they are horrified at the perilous journey, his parents are even more afraid that their outspoken son will fall prey to Haiti’s system of political injustice and corruption. By the time Jacky reaches the shores of Miami, he has dodged imprisonment and death, been to both the Bahamas and Jamaica twice, faced abandonment in the middle of the ocean and miraculously rescued by a mysterious stranger.

This is the story of a person who knew his life needed to take him beyond his geographical borders. “Growing up, we all have big dreams, but sometimes we are paralyzed by fear and allow life to beat those dreams out of us. Press forward until you reach your goal is the message that readers will take away from the novel. You are as strong as you allow yourself to be,” said Tonico.

Additionally, “Life Beyond Borders” takes readers beyond the negative stereotype of a Haitian boat person to show the courage, resilience, resourcefulness and resolve required to leave behind everything familiar in order to seek freedom and self-determination. Tonico’s purpose is to encourage people to face the unknown when the known is unbearable.

“I was also attracted to the story because it shows that merely classifying someone as a ‘boat person’ completely misses the human being behind the label,” said Dawn Moulton, founder of publishing company, Forward Press. “I would like readers to consider how life would be if we focus on each other’s character rather than nationality, gender, race, income or other external ‘borders’ we create.”

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