Jesse’s Jewel – Nick Twinamatsiko.

Jesse’s Jewel – Nick Twinamatsiko

Condemned by the adults in the village as an eccentric child likely to grow into a lunatic, terrified 6-year old Jesse Yesiga learns, under the influence of 16 year old Helen that he isn’t eccentric, but unique and destined, not for lunacy, but a peculiar purpose. Helen, whom Jesse loves platonically but profoundly, soon dies amidst the siege of Mbarara Town by Museveni-led rebels. Later in life Jesse bases his choices in career and romance on societal conventions, and pursues them with the passion of a poet. But after he reaches every school boy’s dream girl, and enrols on every student’s dream course, the culminating disappointment revived the illuminations of his childhood. But can he find himself again?  And can he find a girl that can stir his affections the way Helen did? His flight from conventionality, inspired by a jewel bequeathed to him by his heroine, turns out to be perilous but worthwhile.

The first question I’ll ask is, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known!? This man is a genius. No, I’m not exaggerating, I don’t need to. This man is a serious, absolute genius.

This book, on its own, is one of the sweetest and cutest books I’ve ever read. No kidding.

I very much admire and envy his ability to shift the reader from one mood to the next. From elation to sadness. His descriptive powers are out of this world… From the way the book begins, with philosophical wondering on what memory really is and how it affects our lives right to the satisfactory ending.

The language in this book is not hard to understand and the simplicity in writing style makes it even better. The book is hilarious and has an introspective nature to it. The story is told with honesty that can be best described as innocent. I enjoyed how much he mixes the spiritual and reality.

From the outlandish characters to the ones we recognise in the pages. I’m not a child of the 80s, the era in which the book is set, but I recognised many of the characters in the book. The village gossip, the ‘prophet’, the teacher that loves his cane a little too much, nicknamed Mr. Bend.

The other wonderful surprise in this book was the beautiful poetry that was featured in throughout the book. Each poem was inspired by an event happening the author.

In a world where we are made to admire a standard of life that is somewhat out of our reach, finding our true authentic selves is usually frowned upon. This may be because our true selves and what we are passionate about may be unsavoury to society and it’s standards.

Before I give away much of the book’s plot, again I ask, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known? This is a page-turner. I think, in my case, I’ve reached the point of becoming a disciple, not just fan.

This review was written by Mable Amuron, for Turn The Page Africa.

For a copy or more of these books and others, please visit ttpafrica.com.

Deserted – Bob Kisiki

Deserted – Bob Kisiki

Sixteen year old Alyna Kalisa returns from school to find a note from her big sister, Adisa, saying that she’s left home to start a new life. Adisa has been looking after Alyna, the 14-year-old brother Kibo Kalisa and her own son, Simeon Kafuuma (four). Now the three children are on their own. Afraid that they will be taken to an abandoned children’s home if anyone finds out that they’re on their own, Alyna and Kibo agree to tell no one that their big sister is gone. As the two struggle to manage the household on their own, Simmi’s pre-school teacher notices that something is not right and begins to snoop around. Meanwhile,  Alyna and Kibo are discovering details of their sister’s secret life…

The late Joel Benjamin Nevender wrote that this book was meant for a younger audience and I couldn’t agree more. So, as an experiment, I gave this book to my younger school-going cousin to read and asked her to write a review of the book. She obliged. So I’ll be sharing her thoughts as well as mine.

Deserted delves into the lives of a family of orphans whose big sister has suddenly disappeared leaving her child and siblings behind. This comes as a shock to the kids as their big sister had been their surrogate mother, their parents having been killed by an assassin ten years earlier.
 
The author, Bob Kisiki, gets the reader into the minds of these children and how they are affected by the this life-altering event.

The book shows that there are people with good intentions in the world, not ones with ulterior motives as much as it casts a light on secret lives.

My “problem” with the book is that I found the luck that befalls the kids, after their big sister…er… deserts them, a little too good to be true.

 I think as an older reader, I wanted just a tad bit more friction and tension. I also found myself wanting to know more and understand the darkness that shrouded Adisa, the older sister.

I quite enjoyed the little lessons found therein which further cements the theory that this was meant for a younger audience. I loved the simplicity of the story, I was, surprisingly moved by it, but then again I’m a softy at heart. The simplicity of the language too. I liked the snippets into Ugandan life; the boda bodas, traffic jam, markets, school life, church etc.

Read it? Yes! Then gift it to the neighbourhood teenager, the sister, the cousin, the nephew, the niece.

What my 16 year old cousin wrote:

I enjoyed this story and book very much. I loved how Alyna and Kibo managed to take care of their nephew even though they quarrelled and how they didn’t let this affect Simmi. I loved how they were managed at each moment of difficulty. I loved that they worked together and their combined effort to run the house and take care of Simmi. It was a very good story.

This review was written by Mable Amuron, for Turn The Page Africa.

For a copy or more of these books and others, please visit ttpafrica.com.