Thursday, April 5, 2012
My Dreams, My Choices
My Dreams, My Choices by Clementine Wamboye Girenge
"The simple act of going to school represents enormous ambition for Felly, the protagonist of this powerful true story about growing up in rural Kenya. In the town of Mumias lies a small village where Felly's family is known to everyone. The life of her paternal grandparents is like an open book, a story filled with sorrow and strife that turns her grandmother into a cold and hardened woman. Felly on the other hand, grows up in a home surrounded by her parents' love that is based on a very strong foundation, which sets the stage for this brave youngster to make and achieve her goals. One of them is receiving a top-notch education. My Dreams, My Choices documents Felly's drive to expand her horizons. At the same time, this frank and eye-opening book reveals what it's like to grow up in Africa today, detailing a life of hardship touched by contemporary African issues. At a young age, Felly witnesses how her family stands against the ordeals that come their way. As she grows older, she discovers that she will also have to surpass personal struggles blocking her way. There are times when she almost surrenders, refusing to move forward and climb over the barriers. She experiences profound culture shock upon setting sight for the first time on Nairobi. And she faces down tremendous odds to graduate at the top of her class from one of the best schools in the country. Richly detailed, the vividly recalled life story will captivate you with a fresh perspective on contemporary Kenyan life and people."
I love to read about other people's lives, especially when they are very different from my own. This book was no exception. I have heard about Kenya in the news, but that is about it. Learning about her family and why they acted the way they did gave insight into why we need to be less judgmental about people. We don't know what they have been through, and we down't realize what we can learn from them. Getting a good education was always at the top of my parents' list for me as well, but it was much easier for me than it was for her. I think I took my education for granted.
This book is filled with good quotes. My favorite is: "Success was not based on the color of my hands but the strength I put in my hands to color my dreams. I needed to color them big!"
Some parts of this book are a little hard to follow. It doesn't always go chronologically in order. Also, I had to reread some paragraphs in order to understand the language. I did enjoy this book and would recommend it. Like I said, I do enjoy learning about the way other people live, and it's always a good reminder as to how blessed I am. She is also a great example of working hard to overcome the odds.
Rating: PG-13 (Some of the content is difficult to read because of the harsh envirnonment. You read about a boy who was killed by a teacher at school because he was late, because he helped that very same teacher push his bike into the school yard. That part was graphic and hard to read. So there is that death, other children die of disease.)
Recommendation: 16 years and up. This could be a really good learning tool for teenagers. It definitely makes you take a step back and realize that even though you have problems, they aren't as big as other peoples' problems.