Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, But Could Not Hold My Attention

by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
(2 scoops)

This is a classic example of a great story, but a bad book.

If I hadn't agreed to read it in order to help a lovely young lady with her summer assignment I would have never made it through the first few chapters. The writing is clunky, cliche-filled, and just drags on and on and on. And on.

Sure, there is a quality pay off at the end, but if I'm going to read a book instead of watching a feel good segment on YouTube, then the book-reading-experience should be a pleasurable one. Yes,
I understand that the authors want their readers to understand the cultural context in which Kamkwamba exists, but a few well constructed and well placed anecdotes could have done that a lot better than page after page of rambling. In fact, there is a great bit about boiling goat poop and an exacerbated mother that does just that!

Kamkwamba is truly an inspirational young man and I am glad that I now know a bit more about his homeland and his story. I just wish that the book, which I'm sure will be used in Middle School and High School Science and Humanities courses for years to come, was as inspiringly well written.

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