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Weep Not, Child

4.4 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0143026242
ISBN-10: 0143026240
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ngugi wa Thiong'o is one of Africa's most influential and exciting writers, as well as a literary and social activist who campaigns worldwide promoting African languages. He is a playwright, novelist, essayist and editor of literary journals. Ngugi is the recipient of many international honours, including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and seven honorary doctorates.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: The Penguin Group (SA) (Pty) Ltd (July 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143026240
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143026242
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 0.5 x 13.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,626,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a quick read portraying the struggles of a young boy coming of age in Kenya with the onset of the Mau Mau uprising and the opression that led to it. The novel's simplicity may make it seem like an elementary book, but this is what makes it genuine and a good beginning for anyone who is just starting to learn about the atrocities that happened throughout white man's rule of Africa and what is still going on today. It's not hard to see why Ngugi was so wrongfully punished for his bringing these events to the forefront as he definitely was making some point-blank political statements (and very brave).
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Njoroge is a Gikuyu boy who is enters into a western school. He feels that education is the only path for him to help his family, his village and his country. Yet, his dreams get destroyed. The Mau Mau uprising sends his proletariat brothers into the forest killing settlers and trying to get England to leave Kenya.

Ngugi's characterization of the uprising and the people involved is quite interesting. Some characters are connected with the Mau Mau not because of high-minded ideals but because of personal grievances with others. The white characters are considered outsiders by the Gikuyu but consider themselves Africans.

Njoroge becomes the synthesis character. Through his education he connects with the colonizers; he has a romantic connection with the collaborating chief's daughter; and, at home he is connected to Gikuyu past. He predicts that "tomorrow" there will be a new Kenya and he and the chief's daughter will be the foundation of it.

Weep Not, Child is Ngugi's first novel and it reads like one. His next novel "The River Between," with a similar message, is a far better work. I would not make this a "must read."
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"Weep Not, Child" chronicles a young boy, Njoroge, as he grows up admist the Mau Mau war and the conflict between the African natives and the British colonial rulers. The book is in essence about the hopes and dreams of a young boy coming being affected by the outside world and how the outside world changes a person.
The novel also addresses the political conflict that was occurring in Kenya in the 1950's. The author incorporates a description of the power of the white rulers, the bitterness of the Africans at being enslaved on their own land and their attempt to rise up against the tyranny, and finally deals with the poor relations between the blacks and Indian merchants, who are looked down upon by the black community.
I read this novel as a part of my IB English class. We read this book in combination with "1984" (Orwell). It was a very powerful story when it dealt with Njoroge's life, his thoughts and his feelings but due to the length of the novel (136 pages) one only gets a fairly superficial explanation of the historical and cultural context of the book. Also, this novel is a book in translation, so some of the sentence and grammatical structure can be a bit tricky at times. All in all, a very good book.
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Format: Paperback
The story concerns itself with an important period in the life of the author's tribe in Kenya in the 1950's - the Mau Mau Emergency at a time when I myself lived in Kenya. It does not pretend to be other than a subjective fictional account and yet is more accurate than the recent supposed historical account by Caroline Elkins, outrageously inaccurate as that is. Ngugi's book goes to the heart of a young boy whose burning desire is to get an education at a time when conflict and killing were all around him. It is beautifully and simply told with a very authentic 'young' voice.
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This is stunning on every level -- from the beautiful structure, the deeply felt characterizations, and the larger questions of Good vs. Evil. Ngugi is a writer of great purpose and his works force a reconsideration of nearly everything a reader grasps as meaning.
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The writing and the story and the insights evoke so much emotion.
Do take the time to savor this short story. It will hook you on African writers and open up your understanding of their cultures and the challenge they are experiencing with post-colonial, post-modern, and globalization etc.
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