Lindsey's Reviews > Aké: The Years of Childhood

Aké by Wole Soyinka
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Nov 26, 10

Read in November, 2010

I've almost finished teaching "Things Fall Apart" with this year's 10th graders, so that story was still fresh in my mind while I read this memoir by another Nigerian writer. Whereas Achebe writes about the Igbo people, though, Soyinka is from the western, Yoruba, part of the country. This made for an interesting contrast between the two cultures, languages, etc. Also, Achebe's book deals with the time right before colonization really took hold, and "Ake" takes place during World War II; by then, many British customs were entrenched in the schools, government, etc., and at the end of the book people are just starting to discuss independence and nationalism.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but often the writing felt too dense for the light-hearted stories about Soyinka's early years. The young narrator was endearing, though, and I especially loved his descriptions of his parents' interactions--they sound like a pretty amazing family.

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