Belinda’s Book Nook Review: Bingo’s Run by James A. Levine


Title: Bingo’s Run
Author: James A. Levine
Copyright: January 7, 2014
Genre: non-fiction,
Format: audio book  Voice talent: Peter Macoo Pages: 304

Synopsis (from Amazon):

For fans of Dave Eggers, Teju Cole, and James McBride, comes this extraordinary novel of morality and the redemptive powers of art that offers a glimpse into an African underworld rarely described in fiction.

Meet Bingo, the greatest drug runner in the slums of Kibera, Nairobi, and maybe the world. A teenage grifter, often mistaken for a younger boy, he faithfully serves Wolf, the drug lord of Kibera. Bingo spends his days throwing rocks at Krazi Hari, the prophet of Kibera’s garbage mound, “lipping” safari tourists of their cash, and hanging out with his best friend, Slo-George, a taciturn fellow whose girth is a mystery to Bingo in a place where there is never enough food. Bingo earns his keep by running “white” to a host of clients, including Thomas Hunsa, a reclusive artist whose paintings, rooted in African tradition, move him. But when Bingo witnesses a drug-related murder and Wolf sends him to an orphanage for “protection,” Bingo’s life changes and he learns that life itself is the “run.”

A modern trickster tale that draws on African folklore, Bingo’s Run is a wildly original, often very funny, and always moving story of a boy alone in a corrupt and dangerous world who must depend on his wits and inner resources to survive.

My thoughts:

I came across this audio book while browsing on Overdrive on my Kindle. I loved the cover and listened to a sample and was hooked. The voice talent for this book was so pleasant to the ear and I have never read much on the drug world in Nairobi or any African countries for that matter. So although this is a work of fiction, I knew it could still shed some insight. I also knew that this book would fit into my reading resolutions for 2015.

I immediately fell into the story while listening to the voice talent. He did a great job of doing the voices for all the characters. I listened to this while working at my craft table and while working in my vegetable garden. It made the time fly even faster.

I like books that help to bring to light how complicated life can be. Especially for this young boy who lost both of his parents in turmoil at a young age and the extreme poverty. It helps to understand why he might have made the choices he did about dealing drugs.  There were a few sections of violence but overall it was about Bingo and him trying to survive and grow in such a stressful life.

Even though he was a drug dealer, I found myself wishing for him to be well, find true happiness and love. He had no one to guide him and the circumstances created so many choices for him that he would have better thought through had he had guidance.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I think the audio version really boosted it more for me. So I give it 4 butterflies.


Happy reading!



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