“One day I will write about this place” and Emily will be cool enough to like it but not today.

August 31, 2011 at 10:07 pm Leave a comment

So the New York Times review of this book started like this “Harried reader, I’ll save you precious time: skip this review and head directly to the bookstore for Binyavanga Wainaina’s stand-up-and-cheer coming-of-age memoir, ‘One Day I Will Write About This Place.'”

Wow, that is quite an endorsement. So of course in my nerdy excitement, I get off my lazy Sunday ass and reserve it immediately from the library, pick it up the next day, and start reading.  And I loved it…for awhile. But as I read this “amazing” book with it’s “phenomenal imaginary” I realized that I really didn’t like it. I kept trying, thinking “the cool kids like this so I will make myself like it.” But still, I would find myself avoiding this book and when I was reading I was looking longingly at the other books I would rather be reading.

Now let me be clear, the writing is wonderful.  Wainaina is truly a beautiful writer with an amazing story to tell. But I got lost in the technique and found that I really didn’t care about the story all that much.  He writes the way we all remember our lives – moments here and there. And while, he does follow a timeline it is just not enough to keep the reader with him. I will admit that I think this my fault as a reader. I need more help from the writer than I got here. But I do think that Wainaina could have given me something a little more anchored to hold onto. I confess, that like most Americans I need to learn more about the history of Kenya and South Africa, and if I am being truly honest every other country in Africa, South of Egypt. This is on my to do list, don’t worry.

In all fairness, I think everyone should at least try this book.  The question is really will you be cool enough to like it? Meanwhile, I have to go find my pocket protector and tape my glasses back together.


Entry filed under: 50 page fail.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s By Truman Capote – Don’t think about Audrey Hepburn, don’t think about Audrey Hepburn No snarky title for “Snowflower and the Secret Fan” by Lisa See

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There is some great literature out there, but there is a lot of bad literature as well. We shouldn't all have to read it. These are my recommendations and thoughts about the books I read.


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