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Friday, January 3, 2014

Bingo's Run: A Novel

I will admit, I was a bit skeptical when I picked up Bingo's Run, James Levine's novel. I was beyond surprised at how badly I needed this storytelling and the beauty of finding care.

Bingo is the greatest drug runner the slums of Kenya has ever seen. He runs "white" all over the place and holds the records for the most runs ever done in a day. He calls himself a growth retard; others call him, "meejit." One night his boss gives him a very important run--only when Bingo decides to disobey, he finds himself witness to a life-changing event. He is sent away to an orphanage for safe-keeping only to find himself suddenly being adopted by a wealthy American woman who he believes is trying to rob him of millions.

In truth, I giggle when I read that description because it is so outrageous to read, yet so believable on the page. First of all, I both loved and hated Bingo. More love than hate, and not "hate" exactly. I was frustrated with Bingo at times because I wanted him to take advantage of what was being handed to him. He believes the worst in people, and rightfully so. It's not as though his life has shown him that people are inherently good. His mother was murdered before his very eyes--by the man who would become his boss, no less. Bingo is a complicated boy and I was rooting for him so hard.

I found myself laughing aloud at times and wholly moved at others. I wavered on whether or not I though Mrs. Steele, the wealthy American woman, was actually trying to steal Bingo's (not so much) millions, and I ultimately wanted Bingo to go to America and start and new life and be grateful he wasn't dead, dammit. I loved the story arc; I loved following it through until the very end, laughing and loving and excited. I particularly love that at the end, the moral of the story is that we are all hustlers in one or another--trying to make it through, day by day, minute by minute. However, if we choose to let love into our lives, we can hustle together.

What a great lesson to embrace.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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