Friday, April 23, 2010
Review: Bill Bryson's African Diary (Bryson)
Author: Bill Bryson
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges: just reading something interesting...
FTC Disclosure: I bought this one with my own hard earned money (and all the profits go to CARE)
Summary (from the inside flap): In the early fall of 2002 Bill Bryson traveled to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty around the world. He arrived with a set of mental images of Africa.... But the vibrant reality of Kenya and its people took over the second he deplaned in Nairobi, and this diary records his impressions of his trip.
Review: I am a Bill Bryson fan. I've read 3 of his other books and think his writing is clever, intellectual, and funny. The goal of this book is to make people aware of the poverty and other issues facing Kenyans as well as the work CARE International is doing over there to help. Stories range from slums housing over 700,000 people (!), to micro-lending programs and poor farmers. While this could be depressing, Bryson is hysterically funny in between as he recounts his thoughts along the way. Wait until you read his conversations about what to worry about in Kenya (disease, car jackings, train wrecks, and feces-rubbing children). This sounds so not-funny, but Bryson has a way with sarcasm and exaggeration that makes me laugh out loud.
However, when he needs to be Bryson is serious. He does not belittle the Kenyans, the work of CARE, or the important work that is going on there. This slim volume speaks volumes and was a quick, enjoyable read!