Book Review: A Boy Named Koko by Adipo Sidang

This is the second book by the award winning Kenyan author Adipo Sidang.

It is about, well, a boy named Koko.

It is an interesting read that takes one’s through the horrors of poverty and disability. But don’t worry, there’s a great ending to it.

Koko is a boy living with albinism who has to contend and fight against a world that wants to exploit him at every turn.

He comes to the city to live with his mother’s sister who uses him as a beggar to get money. This is a really depressing life for the young man of about 14 years old.

Koko, after a beating for not bringing any money (one day), runs away from home into a convent but is kidnapped while in hospital by people who believe that killing a person with albinism will bring them wealth.

His rescue is like a scene from a movie.

There are some lessons here, poverty, disability, exploitation, the dangers of rumors about albinos, greed, punishment and salvation.

Koko is a multi-talented boy, a rapper and good at school too. But his poverty makes things worse for him. But through sheer encouragement, everything got better.

Adipo Sidang writes with great passion. The similes, poetic iterations, the imagery are great to make the reading flow, leading one to create an enduring mental picture of the scenes.

Apart from the chapter on football (it’s not that much), I loved all the other parts of the book.

But I was a little irked by the interpretations which at some point I considered excessive.

This book is recommended for every library and for all people, especially, the young ones living with albinism.

This book won Adipo Sidang the 2018 Burt Award.

Uplift one today, buy the book.