author: Ngugi wa Thiong’o
date: Heinemann, 1987 edition
Njoroge is so excited that it will be possible for him to go to school that he cannot wait to tell with his brother, Kamau. One would expect some sort of conflict from this brother who chooses for himself to learn a trade but, there is none. The boys truly believe each of them will be contributing to Kenya’s future. They embody the hope for this new country as it tussles to free itself from the deep-seated vestiges of colonial rule; roots that go too deep for such naïve thinking.
In this slight book of just over 100 pages, Ngugi manages to build our hopes and expectations in somewhat the same way the Kenyan people’s were. Njoroge is smart and has so much support, there is no reason to believe he will not be successful in life. Kenya had a new leader, a strong middle class it had to succeed, didn’t it?
The complexities of history and of people are well layered in this classic story of the downfall of a government as seen from within. The book should be in all school libraries and would be excellent in any world lit curriculum.
This is my second review for the Africa Reading Challenge.