In this blog post, Malama, who has been tutoring the students in literature, speaks to Cathy, a current student about the books she has enjoyed reading.
Whilst in secondary school, I took pure sciences as options. The tight schedule of conducting laboratory experiments and solving additional mathematics problems did not allow me to find time for literature. The only time I got the chance to write and read was in my English class, which was never enough because I wanted to do more than basic secondary English. However, Our Moon has given me the opportunity to explore my love of literature through a variety of fantastic and wonderful novels in the library. I never knew that reading these books was the beginning of my great adventure of exploring different places on earth, travelling space and time into the different characters’ epic worlds and sharing their sometimes fantastical experiences. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for example, takes me from Africa to America, where a young woman by the name of Ifemelu is trying to survive in a foreign country while undergoing an identity crisis and experiencing the effects of being African in a western country. On the other hand, Harry Potter by JK Rowling, is taking me into the world of wizardry, fantastic beasts, and unending adventures.
The Skin I’m In (Sharon G Flake) is a story about Maleeka Madison, a girl with low self-esteem because of her dark skin colour. Although intelligent, she is struggling for recognition and respect among her peers. She resorts to the mean and out-spoken Charlese for protection against the school bullies, but Charlese treats Maleeka horribly. This piece of writing is very realistic and relatable. The author is not taking the reader out of the world, but bringing us to their community, their school days to be specific where they get a glimpse or even re-experience the struggles of teenage high school life.
Americanah, on the other hand, is an epic book. Unlike The skin I’m In, its covering emotions, personal resonance, violence, identity, culture, love, survival, and desperations. It’s a book that will make you change your perception and expectations of western life. It has exposed me a more realistic version of America through the eyes and experiences of Ifemelu. From Americanah, I have learned many things including cultural and identity crises. I have now understood the need and importance of knowing one’s ideal identity. It is the key to avoiding identity crises and being consumed by other peoples’ cultures in foreign lands and places.
Things Fall Apart, however, is totally different from Americanah. The author, Chinua Achebe, takes readers to the life of Okonkwo, a brave and great warrior. He is one of the most powerful men of his clan, but he also has a fiery temper which leads him to take violent actions when outsiders threaten the traditions of his clan.
Things Fall Apart have taught me about pride and great desires. It is okay to have pride, but not good to let your pride and desires consume you because if they do they end up either making you a monster or destroying you.
Roald Dahl’s Matildah is a fun and adventurous book. Though it’s mostly intended for young children, it can get an adult rolling with laughter due to its hilariousness.
The setting is not in Africa like Americanah or Things Fall Apart, Neither is it in the US like The Skin I’m In. It takes place in London, where a little brilliant girl named Matilda lives with her useless parents, who are too consumed with their lives to pay attention to their child nor recognize how much of a genius she is.
It’s not easily relatable like The Skin I’m In, but it will make you always look forward to turning the next page and seeing what Matildah is up to next.
Harry Potter – I have never read anything like it. It takes you into the world of fiction with beasts, wizards, talking animals and witches. It’s full of unrealistic things and fantastic things. But these same things will take you into a wonderful world of unending imagination. Not even a movie will make you put away the book. Each day, I would eagerly wait for the evenings when I would sit down in eager anticipation of reading the next page and unfolding the mysteries of Harry and his friends, Hermione and Ron. Harry Potter is simply a wonderful novel, and I looking forward to reading books two and three.