To make it clear that i actually read and finish a book, here is my review of a book i finished reading last month. I am not the kind of person who reads books as soon as they land the market, i wait until i can absorb as much as i need from the book. In fact, take ages to finish a single books, unless its a read for leisure. I take notes as i read and keep going back and forth in my favorite books.
It does not mean that i am not reading current books; i just started reading 'Peeling off the Mask' and in competition with the Paul Collier's 'The Bottom Billion'. I feel for the latter as i have my reservations which have made me take this book back to the shelf every other two days of reading it since the year started! I will reveal that in the next review...but here is what i observed from Michela's writing. I wont give you details of the book, buy a copy and get reading!
Reading this book when away from home (Kenya) has made a lot of difference in how I have reacted to the message. I salute John Githongo in the energy he put in exposing the corruption in Kenya, even at the high levels. It is the pace that we need every elite person in Kenya to set. It’s a good read for any young professional in Kenya who believes that this country needs them and are not sure how far they should go in being good citizens.
Michela ably connects the dots of what is happening in contemporary Kenya and what happened before and during the colonial times that steered ethnicity and corruption. She highlights corruption not just as a problem of the African governments, but also of the governments that are supporting them. I am intrigued by the lack of biases when writing every paragraph of this book; there are few writers who can pull such sensitive matters together into a book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone planning to work closely with the Kenyan government, either as a civil servant or as seconded by donor community or on diplomatic missions. Having worked with both previously, I understand how corruption can get into every grain of the country’s fabric.
However, if you are looking for a story, then this is not a story, it’s a book where the journalist is trying to show her journalistic prowess, sometimes that annoyed me as I was trying to follow the story as raw as it should be. The book has passed the message, but perhaps it would have sunk better if John wrote the book himself, I missed John’s feelings and voice in the book. He is passive and reserved, appearing to only be sharing with Michela. I thought I would feel like I was having a one- on- one chat as I read the book.