Sunday, August 16, 2009

White Teeth, by Okot p'Bitek

This short novel from 1953 is very poignant, and translated in 1988 from Acoli it reads well. The story is a commonplace- the young man wants to marry, but his father has died, so he must leave for Kampala to earn money. The descriptions of the village boy heading out into the world, woefully unprepared, ironically makes the case for reading itself, even though "the city" is responsible for the boy's woes. The thought experiment: if every village boy in Africa read White Teeth, would Africa be a better place? Clearly, to me, the answer is yes. But better enough to justify the 50 cents per child to get a copy "readable" to each child... now we are talking about something interesting.

No comments: