The next installment of “Short Books for Busy Readers” is here!
Chike, an 11-year-old boy, leaves his family’s home in a rural “bush village” to live with his uncle in the city of Onitsha (Nigeria) so he can continue his schooling. Living in a new place, he must adapt to an unfamiliar environment full of strangers, but that’s not his only difficulty. Between his village and the city, he receives conflicting advice on various topics. Continuing his education at the cost of being far from his mother and siblings, he has been been taught that learning is important. However, his new headmaster punishes students who are “overcurious.” Also, Chike’s mother warns him never to go near the River Niger, but his new friends insist that he find money to cross the river by ferry before the bridge is built and the ferry is gone.
Even if Chike can come up with the coins needed to ride the ferry, the reader can’t help but wonder if Asaba, the village on the opposite river bank, will really live up to the hype. Regardless, Chike’s adventures help him learn life lessons about honesty, loyalty, bravery and personal achievement. Originally published in 1966, this 2011 reprint is in the new adult fiction section at DBRL. This story has a slightly more juvenile tone than other works by Achebe, but it’s an enjoyable quick read nonetheless.