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One Day I Will Write About This Place: A…

One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir (2011)

by Binyavanga Wainaina

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121799,547 (3.88)11
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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
A well written account of a writer coming of age in Kenya and his travels across the African continent as an adult. Wainana's prose is elegant, spare and he conveys his experiences in a series a tightly told vingettes.

However, he never really made me care enough about his life. There are worse sins in literature, but I never found myself completely absorbed by this. ( )
  lewissmith4 | Dec 17, 2013 |
Really wonderful, absorbing memoir about growing up in Kenya in the 70s and 80s, being part of the first generation to be born after independence from British rule. Wainaina's prose is the real joy here, riffing on language, meandering but never rambling, often suggestive rather than direct, and only rarely getting away from itself. (This seems to happen more at the beginning of the book than later on.) I did want this to cohere a little more—it's not quite a memoir proper, but more than a series of vignettes—but was impressed enough that I will look out for more of Wainaina's work in the future. ( )
  siriaeve | Oct 29, 2013 |
I received this as a First Reads winner and am so sorry it took me so long to read and review the book.This is a great book! The descriptions of the people and places of Africa are incredible. Several times I thought I might check Google Earth to find some of the places mentioned because I wanted to see for myself. Then I thought that the descriptions in the book were so detailed I would probably be disappointed by the Google Earth view and decided to just savor the imagery as given. ( )
  SuzanneD | Jan 17, 2012 |
His life pathways to becoming a writer and observations of his country.
  goneal | Nov 17, 2011 |
It took me a while to get into this book. For the first seventy-five pages, I just could not make myself care about Wainaina's life. Fortunately, my interest in the book improved the further I read. Wainaina's young adult years provide the forefront for most of his memoir, with the movements and events in Africa during the 1970s and '80s being a fascinating backdrop. The author provides readers with a younger voice's view of the post-colonial continent and all of its competing elements: pop culture vs. Pentecostal religion, socio-political problems, tribalism, Afrocentrism and pan-Africanism, the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, Western education, refugees, immigration, and more. Wainaina primarily focuses on his period of being out-of-touch with his goals, country, and, at times, family, then moves on to his eventual journey to being a writer. He ends, however, by writing just as much about recent political situations in Kenya as about himself.

Wainaina writes in what I would consider a literary style, so the writing can be lyrical and magnificent at times. I could tell that the words the author used were considered very carefully as he was writing; Wainaina's hard work shows. Every once in a while, though, I found his anecdotes to be somewhat confusing, their meanings ambiguous. I felt like more concrete memoir-writing might have been nice in these places, but all in all, this book turned out to be a wonderful read. ( )
  SusieBookworm | Aug 13, 2011 |
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In this memoir, Wainaina takes us through his school days, his mother's religious period, his failed attempt to study commerce in South Africa, a moving family reunion in Uganda, and his travels around Kenya.

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