Hillary Ambani Lisimba is our newest writer in the oven, with a story that only those born before the YOLO millennials will understand, a story that YOLO kids will cringe at, and human rights activists would want to drag the parents to court.
It’s in the 1980s in Mbale, a small town in Western Kenya. Hillary Lisimba Ambani is growing up with a strict disciplinarian mother whom he calls Thatcher who beat the hell out of him for every infraction he did or did not commit.
In The Boy with Shoes, Hillary tells us how it was to grow up in that era, a time that set pace for the 21st Century middleclass. When his mother bought him the first ever and only pair of shoes in the whole school, it was his bane—he was an outcast in school, and a recalcitrant at home: he wants to wear the shoes yet he doesn’t; he has to, yet he doesn’t.
The book is a spellbinding narration of how life was growing up in the ‘80s, the dreams all children have of becoming anything when they grow up, and the authoritarianism that mothers had on their children.