An African Tale
Outskirts Press (2009)
Reviewed by Dylan James (age 13) for Reader Views (9/09)
Back before cities, when people had to live by the strength of their arms and the will of their souls, there was a weather god. He controlled the lakes and the oceans. He decided when it rained and when there was a drought. He decided when there was a hurricane or tornado and when there was a cool breezy day. Eventually a stone is created with all the god’s powers, and it falls into the hands of a man. He abuses his power and it is said that his two great-grandsons will be born at the same time when he dies. They will have to come to agreement with each other in order to regain the power of the weather stone. One great-grandson comes from a luxurious city and is street-smart. The other lives out in the country, where there are no cell phones or technology, and is bush-wise. Will they come into agreement? Or will they fight, and the power of the storms destroy everything?
“An African Tale” was interesting and exciting for the first half of it. It starts out in the past, where humans have to struggle to survive. There is a weather god whose job is to maintain the balance between nature and humans. It talks about how humans eventually get greedy and abuse their nature more and more. Up to this point, I was having a good time reading about an interesting story. Then, the next half of the book was so vastly different that I was confused in many parts of it. In the beginning, the writing flowed and I could easily understand it. There was only one main character, and he did what he wanted to and that was it. Then in the second half, suddenly everything regarding the story, characters, action, and plot was thrown together really quickly. I would have liked this book far better if it would have stuck to the past. The story was good, the characters were developed, but the writing was not easy to understand.
Because of the difficulty to understand what is happening in the latter half of the book, I would not recommend this book for anyone under age 13. This will be enjoyed by people that enjoy African myths and have a good grasp of vocabulary. Overall though, this was a good book and I am glad I know the story of “An African Tale” by Enna Neru.