Author: Charles Okoth
Publisher: MK Publishers
Extent: 88 pages
Available at: LocaL Bookstores/ or call Samwel on +25416387923
Only a beautiful girl in a mixed secondary school can greatly destabilise the educational equilibrium as does Nekesa.
Jimmy is one of those boys from a well-to-do family who walks around with an air of importance; almost like the universe should pay him for gracing its streets. Of course Jimmy has a taste for the good things the universe offers. And that includes Nekesa.
Jimmy claims to have shamed the devil by declaring his love for Nekesa and invites her to do the same.
“But if you say ‘I love you, Jimmy,’ angels will nod, and wink knowingly from their high heavens. For, as the Bible says, God is love.” Jimmy writes.
When Nerima, Nekesa’s cousin, gets wind of Jimmy’s letters to Nekesa, she takes it upon herself to be Nekesa’s source of encouragement to accept Jimmy’s proposal. Nekesa is torn between accepting Jimmy’s proposal and sharing it with her mother. Thankfully, the latter wins.
What follows is a dose of laughter and what becomes Jimmy’s mockery!
Jimmy showers Nekesa with heavenly words but she is careful not to swim in them; at least not before consulting her mother. Her mother, a cool 20th century mother has come to terms with parenting in the modern age. She reads Jimmy’s letters together with Nekesa, and even makes fun of them.
(The author gifting me with a copy of the book)
Jimmy does not take chances in impressing the girl of the moment. Not even in stealing his mother’s jewels and a wedding ring to give the girl.
When all fails, Jimmy resorts to threats of suicide. Nekesa is shaken. Her mother, however, laughs about it and says,
“That is part of the tricks boys use. You will have to get used to them. If not, you will find yourself accepting very many out of sympathy. Some will tell you they will kill themselves, jump into a lake, tie themselves in a game park full of lions, even drink a little poison. Some, like Jimmy, claim they don’t eat or sleep………I wouldn’t be surprised if the boy is suffering from oversleeping, and the dinner plates in his mother’s kitchen don’t need washing, due to being licked clean – by Jimmy.”
From the teenage drama to family feuds, this book will take you back to the old days and keep you laughing through the pages.
However, like many other Young Adult books centred on girl characters, it might be worrying on the ideal beauty templates painted herein: A beautiful girl, brown of complexion…full lips…nice set of legs…right amount of flesh and fat in the places that required it , bewitching even teeth…Can we then act surprised when young girls grow up aspiring to measure up to a brown complexion or to fill their lips?
When Nekesa and her mother finally decide to put an end to Jimmy’s letters, Mareba, Nekesa’s mother says, “Jimmy says he can’t live without you. We can go and find out about that.”
Has Jimmy swallowed a canister of teargas? Or drowned himself in a basin full of water?
You’ll want to find out. Get a copy to the book and laugh yourself back to teenagehood.
Charles Okoth is a Burt Award for African Literature winner (2015) with the title High Tide at Shibale (Phoenix Publishers). He also has a number of readers under his name among them: The Adventures of Thunder (Queenex Publishers) and Fools’ Express (MK Publishers).