Bill Bryson goes to Kenya at the invitation of CARE International, the charity dedicated to working with local communities to eradicate poverty around the world. Kenya, generally regarded as the cradle of humankind, is a land of contrasts, with famous game reserves, stunning landscapes and a vibrant cultural tradition. It also provides plenty to worry a traveller like Bill Bryson, fixated as he is on the dangers posed by snakes, insects and large predators. But on a more sober note, it is a country that shares many serious human and environmental problems with the rest of Africa: refugees, AIDS, drought and grinding poverty.
Travelling around the country, Bryson casts his inimitable eye on a continent new to him, and the resultant diary, though short in length, contains the trademark Bryson stamp of wry observation and curious insight. All the author’s royalties from Bill Bryson’s African Diary, as well as all profits, will go to CARE International.
There has been some criticism about the length of this book – but the whole point of it is to raise awareness of the sterling work done by the charity ‘Care’ – as Bill Bryson puts it, you’re making a donation of £7.99 to Care – and getting a free book in return!
I bought it for that very reason, and also because I sponsor a child in Kenya (albeit through a different charity) and therefore have a personal interest in reading about the country.
There isn’t really very much to add that the ‘blurb’ (which is nearly as long as the book! :p ) hasn’t mentioned. It’s definitely worth a read if you like Brysons writing (which I really do). His ramblings about his experiences of light aircraft had me laughing and cringing in equal measure – and as someone who *hates* flying – even on a ‘proper’ aircraft – makes me even less likely ever to set foot in one!