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Weep Not, Child

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  1,440 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
Tells the moving story about the effects of the Mau Mau war on the lives of ordinary men and women in Kenya. In the forests, the Mau Mau are waging war against the white government, and two brothers, Kamau and Njoroge, and the rest of the family must decide where their loyalties lie.
Paperback, 136 pages
Published April 30th 1988 by Heinemann Educational Books (first published 1964)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Zanna
Described in many reviews as 'a simple story', this book only appears so, I think, because it's written in an economical, limpid style reminiscent of folk tales or anecdote. The narrative follows Njoroge as he grows from a small child to a young adult, locked in his time like a balloon in the wind, and we most often see things from his perspective, but sensitive critique of his naïve and sometimes ignorant viewpoint, and those of others, is implicit throughout. When Njoroge finds 'Lucia' a nice ...more
Irene
Apr 23, 2012 Irene added it
I read this book as a child growing up in Liberia, West Africa. I remember loving the language and the rich culture that very similar to my own. I look forward to reading it again as an adult and growing a deeper appreciation for it.
Jamie
Dec 21, 2012 Jamie rated it really liked it
A well developed African story of hope and disappointment set in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising. Ngugi weaves fiction and nonfiction well to provide both depth of characters and storyline. What I admire most is the sense of realism injected into the story, never a perfect character, rarely an ideal scenario coming to fruition, no perfect ending.
Ahonsi
May 26, 2009 Ahonsi rated it it was ok
This book was a jumbled mess that had a lot of potential. The writer's style was too simple, and the direction of the story was horrible. That's as much critique as I can muster. It was a waste of reading time.
Peter
Dec 28, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 20th-century
This is written in a pared-down though poetic style that makes it feel mythic, though the story is very much set in a particular place and time (Kenya, the Mau Mau uprising). It's in some ways a simple story--Romeo and Juliet maybe, as Ben Okri writes in the intro--but in other ways rather complex in its renderings of various divisions in Kenyan society of this period. Even the white characters who wind up on the side of repression and torture are granted their humanity--which in this novel mean ...more
Michael
Jun 25, 2015 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am not a fan of Classics but the synopsis caught my interest. It was good in the beginning but then the character soon became dismiss able as the pages turned. My main problem with this book was the lack of characterization and how silly it came across. There was absolutely no direction or anything that motivated me to continue reading. This book only emphasized why I do not read many Classics, cause most of the time I am disappointed with the execution.

Oh well it was "okay" but I doubt I woul
...more
Jill
Dec 05, 2012 Jill rated it it was ok
Bleak. Very bleak.
Lindsey
Apr 17, 2013 Lindsey rated it really liked it
*spoiler alert!

Ngugi gives us an intimate account of how real people and families were effected by the Mau Mau Rebellion in Kenya in the 1950's and how the same interests of preserving land rights got cast as vastly different and racialized interests, resulting in the deaths of many. Following Njoroge through his coming of age,we see him first as a young boy who believes that through education and learning, he can save his country, then as a devout Christian who sees himself as God's chosen one
...more
Dan
Oct 07, 2008 Dan rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
this was my third novel by ngugi, and possibly my least favorite? don't get me wrong, it's a worthwhile read, but i vastly prefer his later a grain of wheat (amazing!). weep not, child seems like a sketch by comparison. that said, ngugi's light story-telling touch works as well as ever-- he renders his characters with a willful naivete that would almost remind me of kurt vonnegut, were it not so free of snark (and full of wonder). the characters-- though likeable-- are a bit one-dimensional, and ...more
M.
Mar 15, 2009 M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, fiction
This is quite affecting. The language is simple and occasionally the syntax is odd, but it achieves a sort of pastoral minimalism that in many cases heightens the severity of the events that are surrounding Njoroge & his family.

There is also an interesting dynamic in terms of Njoroge being an almost passive observer to the uprising: His only true desire (while he is still optimistic) seems to be to return the land to his people, and that is his drive. He never seems to actively hate the whi
...more
Gregory
Jun 08, 2015 Gregory rated it it was ok
It may be in part due to my inability to absorb the particular setting of African colonialism, but it seems to me that the whole thing about African literature falls short of what it claims to be. It always reminds me somewhat of Hemingway hypes. You hope for the heap of what seems to be treasure passed down from old time, only to find some overrated, overused junks. It certainly has some value in cultural aspects and flaunts unique perspectives that need to be told. Like many of Wa Thiong'o's b ...more
Vilis
Aug 23, 2016 Vilis rated it it was ok
Nestāv ne tuvu "A Grain of Wheat" manās acīs: pārāk švaki ieskicēts, pārāk paļaujas uz melodrāmu un arī tēli šeit ir daudz plakātiskāki.
OMITIRAN ADEBAYO
Oct 17, 2015 OMITIRAN ADEBAYO rated it it was amazing
I am not a fan of Classics but the synopsis caught my interest. It was good in the beginning but then the character soon became dismiss able as the pages turned. My main problem with this book was the lack of characterization and how silly it came across. There was absolutely no direction or anything that motivated me to continue reading. This book only emphasized why I do not read many Classics, cause most of the time I am disappointed with the execution.

Oh well it was "okay" but I doubt I woul
...more
Judy
Aug 05, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it

Romeo and Juliet, meet the Joads of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath.

Set in Kenya, this is the story of Njoroge, a young Kikuyu boy who befriends Mwihaki, a girl whose father hates Njoroge's father. The two fathers end up in opposing groups in the Mau Mau rebellion of 1951-1960, a period during which native Africans rose up against white colonists, but in factions rather than as a united front.

A few years later when Njoroge, who has been allowed the privilege of an education, is in high school, he a
...more
Bob Lopez
Mar 05, 2016 Bob Lopez rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Johan Thilander
Behöver läsa mer av Ngũgĩ innan jag kan säga något om honom - denna var så tydligt en debutroman. Fina punkter och stunder men med många skavanker, särskilt vad gäller karakterisering.

Skildringen av förtryck fick mig att tänka på en av Farrokhzads formuleringar: Det enda språk du kan fördöma förgripelsen på är förgriparens språk / och förgriparens språk är ett språk som uppfanns för att rättfärdiga förgripelsen.
Oladele Michael.i
Jan 20, 2016 Oladele Michael.i rated it liked it
"It's strange. It's strange how you do fear something because your heart is already prepared to fear because maybe you were brought up to fear that something, or simply because you found others fearing." -Weep Not Child, Ngugi wa Thiong'o
.
I read some books and as I approach the end, the usual smile I keep vanish! And then I look sombre and remorseful for what I know not.
.
Good books have the impact the authors want them to have.
Weep Not Child was not written to make us laugh at the end and remini
...more
Bibi
Sep 08, 2016 Bibi rated it liked it
This was mandatory read back (way back) in secondary school but the struggle in Kenya pervades in today's disenfranchised "Africa" resulting in the kidnapping of the "Nigerian Chibok girls" to the west; hijacking of ocean liners by Somalian pirates in the east; economic mismanagement by leadership of most southern African countries and many more tragic situations which have led to citizens being displaced and corrupt government officials being celebrated. I can't help but think of the irony that ...more
Kate
Jul 08, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it
Weep Not, Child by by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o was a fascinating read that resonated with me for a couple reasons. The book, originally published in 1964, talks much of people warring against each other, of races fighting each other and of people struggling for power. A book more than 50 years old and the themes are still so relevant to right now.

Also, this passage sticks with me:

"He told them how their land had been taken away, through the Bible and the sword. 'Yes, that's how your land was taken away
...more
Tanmoy Mondal
Oct 12, 2015 Tanmoy Mondal rated it it was amazing
In the dark times it is really hard to set goal and move forward to achieve it. Believe and hope help to build a dream and reality shatters it.

The novel is Ngugi's first novel and like Achebe's novels it shows the
horrible effect of imperialism. The protagonist, Njoroge is a young boy who, unlike others, got a chance for education. He is hopeful that education is the most important to improve the life of his people. During turmoil he keeps his faith in education and the God. But the mau-mau upr
...more
Dora Okeyo
Jan 25, 2013 Dora Okeyo rated it really liked it
Like most people faced with challenges-this book is all about them and how much dreams are blurred by brutality and how the only people who you think have lost it all still gain the strength to hope for another day.
Joshua
Nov 29, 2015 Joshua rated it it was amazing
Brilliant short novel showing the colonial conflict of education vs. tradition, and what if knowledge will truly set you free. Njoroge, the main character, sees education as his chance to become the savior of his country, and heal the wounds between the two generations--his father's, who still believe in the old ways, and his brothers', many of whom have fought in European wars and seen the pointlessness of either system. A further complication comes when he falls in love with the daughter of hi ...more
Wangui
Jun 03, 2012 Wangui rated it it was ok
Clearly a first book- after reading Ngũgĩ's childhood memoirs this book clearly had a lot borrowed from his own experiences growing up.
Ruthmarie
Jan 11, 2015 Ruthmarie rated it it was amazing
Why have I not read this sooner? Beautifully written. Early on, it reads like Camara Laye's L'Enfant noir, in its description of the early colonial education of an African and the two worlds that Njoroge inhabits. As the political conflict intensifies, Njoroge's family reveals a wide variety of responses to Jomo Kenyatta, Mau Mau, the Bible, the British, the colonial enterprise, the presence of Indian traders in their midst, and so much more. Yes, an especially moving experience as I read it aga ...more
Troy
Jan 05, 2009 Troy rated it really liked it
Weep Not, Child follows Njoroge, a daydreaming child who dreams of a better tomorrow. His family is obsessed with his education, and he is occasionally stricken by delusions of importance. He reminded me of myself as a child. But his flowering into adulthood is fraught not by burgeoning sexuality, or by normal adolescent social pressures, or by the cynicism of modern life. He comes of age during the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya (1952 to 1960).

Njoroge's idealism is dashed as the violence of the reb
...more
Niki
Jun 25, 2013 Niki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My review is based on this specific edition.
This version of the book by MacMillan readers is meant for English language learners, so it is abridged and includes a note on the historical background, a character guide, illustrations, reading questions and a glossary separated by each book's thematic section (ex: first one is "light and darkness"). The thematic approach for the glossary serves two purposes: it helps identify Thiong'o's literary device for a higher-level read, and it helps encourag
...more
Liana
Jun 09, 2009 Liana rated it liked it
Okay, here's my beef with Weep Not, Child: it's an interesting story set in a time of political strife that the uninformed masses (ex me) should learn more about, but the writing is not as compelling as the plot. Ngugi wa Thiong'o writes simply, which generally serves the story well, except for when he diverges into excessively contracted segments of blatant, explicit exposition. I found myself constantly marking long sections of text with "too fast - too told!" and "why are you explaining your ...more
Caitlyn
May 15, 2011 Caitlyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I just finished reading this for the second time. I agree with some people below that the writing can be odd and simple. Its kind of a sketch more than a really fleshed out tale, I mean it is a short book. I think the odd language and simpleness of the book actually make the themes much more clear. Additionally its one of the first English books in African literature and Ngugi wrote it when he was young himself. I love how simply he addressed these complex topics, it feels youthful and fresh. I ...more
Krystina Ramos
Sep 20, 2011 Krystina Ramos rated it really liked it
It has been years since I read Ngugi's Weep Not, Child. It's one of those rare books in my sister's collection that turned out to be good. I may not remember the novel in its entirety, however, there are certain images Ngugi emphasized which made the story memorable, particularly the contrast of light and darkness. The play on light and dark images exemplify the themes of hope and desolation that is stressed in parts one and two of the novel respectively. The protagonist Njoroge is encouraged by ...more
Joel Simon
Jan 30, 2011 Joel Simon rated it liked it
"Weep Not, Child," tells the story of a family torn apart by the start of the nationalist revolt against colonial rule in Kenya. It was the first English novel published by an East African and, consequently, is worth reading. It is the first novel by the author (written in 1964), who has recieved a number of honors and is currently a professor of literature at the University of California (Irvine). The story follows the lives of several brothers, and one in particular (Njoroge) who is the younge ...more
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51936
Kenyan teacher, novelist, essayist, and playwright, whose works function as an important link between the pioneers of African writing and the younger generation of postcolonial writers. After imprisonment in 1978, Ngũgĩ abandoned using English as the primary language of his work in favor of Gikuyu, his native tongue. The transition from colonialism to postcoloniality and the crisis of modernity ha ...more
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