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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bingo's Run by James A. Levine



Release Date - January 2013

James A. Levine
Spiegel & Grau

Book Review by Bob Walch

Bingo Mwolo is not only a fast runner but he is also gainfully employed, if you call working for a drug dealer in Nairobi “gainful” employment. The boy delivers drugs for his boss and is kept quite busy until one day he stumbles on a murder that endangers his life.

To protect the young boy, his employer sends Bingo off to St. Michael’s Orphanage where the youngster encounters a group of individuals as corrupt as those he rubbed shoulders with on the streets. 
 
This street wise boy soon finds an American woman is interested in adopting him, but Bingo is too savvy to believe she really cares about his well-being or desires to make his life better. In turns out Bingo knows a reclusive but talented local artist named Thomas Hunsa and Bingo’s “benefactor” really wants to use the child to strike a deal to obtain Hunsa’s art before anyone else discovers him.

Caught up in a web of deceit and empty promises, Bingo has to come to terms with who he is, his situation and what he wants to do with his life. This is a pretty demanding situation for an adult let alone a young boy. With a little guidance from a caring hotel maid named Charity, the boy manages to see his way clear of the dilemma he finds himself in and perhaps the future won’t be too bleak.

An endearing character who has the ability to make you both laugh and weep, Bingo’s story is one that you won’t soon forget. The picture James Levine paints of Kibera, one of Kenya’s largest slums, is quite graphic but it is an environment that Bingo understands and one he has learned to survive in. It is when the boy leaves this world and enters another he is less familiar with that this novel becomes quite interesting.

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