Book Review: We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo

Coming off the ecstatic high that was Kintu, it is safe to assume that I was given a rude awakening concerning the differences of writing styles portrayed by Jennifer & NoViolet.

Why on earth, did I expect them to have similar writing styles, I hear you ask. Well your guess is as good as mine!

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Dear God!! Am I one of those people that subconsciously believes that Africa is one country?!

I often hear individuals refer to themselves as “I am a people person”, while, I personally claim no such thing – I do believe that I am a child person. I like kids and will take to them with out much thought.

This was all until I read this book.

You see, for about 50% of the book, NoViolet has the uncanny ability to take you on the trails and adventures of a 10 year old child. No. You don’t get it. Into their head. Their thoughts. Their reactions. Page turn by page turn, another day into the life of this child and their crew.

The language, the mannerisms – everything!

I was listening to this 10 year old speak all the time and I was getting slightly irritated. Okay. Maybe, it wasn’t just slightly. There was a point in this book where I shouted, WHERE ON EARTH ARE THE ADULTS? IS THIS REALLY GOING TO HAPPEN??

Hmm… Mayhaps, this is a credit to her! How on earth did she do this? Like morph into the mind of a child for purposes of writing a book?

But then all of a sudden, it all stopped. Poof! Now we were fast tracked into this teenagers life. New experiences, New sights, New sounds, New mannerisms. And then just like that – The End!

No. This book left me feeling rather short-changed. I have so many questions that are unanswered!

Maybe the whole point of the book was lost on me!

One thing that did sneak out towards the end, was the plight & somewhat bleakishly sad existence of the nkuba-kyeyos (the ones who go to the ever plush greenfield of opportunity that is the west).

(Update) One other thing: I have always been a fan of languages that integrate with English and give it that sheng umph! You know, like how some East Africans can use Swahili in an English sentence and you still get the point… NoViolet does that.

My take away, if you hear me using the work kaka, it’s not what you think.

In south western Uganda, Kaka refers to a grandparent or a great-grand parent depending on the traditions/customs of your family.

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In this book, it totally means something else!

(Update) Also, look out for the moment at the wedding – you will be filled with sudden satisfaction.

Ookay, that is was the last update!

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Side Note: This is the second book  I am completing off the 2016 Africa Reading Challenge. My reading list is here in case you are looking for books to add to yours OR if you have book I simply must read feel free to share.

Next book is Kizza Besigye & Uganda’s Unfinished Revolution by Daniel Kalinaki.

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