Thursday, February 13, 2014

REVIEW: Happy Grey Hair

Happy Grey Hair
By: Chris Wilson

Genre: History & Criticism, Art, African
Publication date: 1.3.2014
Pages: 56
Amazon link: Happy Grey Hair

Date read: 2.13.2014
Recommended by: Read 2 Review

Summary: One basic problem facing most rapidly developing countries is the need to preserve good traditions and at the same time graft upon them. That is why in Africa, for example there are several cultural organizations; these encourage not only the local arts, but also widen the scope to include the arts of neighboring countries of Europe, and other part of the world. 

These organizations should not only focus on the arts which please the African mind generally, but they need to take to account that which appeals to the intellect and moral aspect of man. As a matter of fact, we traveled to six West-African countries to prepare our research. From our research we came up with a lot of information and we decided to put them in a simple play so it can be easily understood by all. 

It is our hope that this plays will be of interest to the general public and may help in a way to give a genuine impression that the various West African communities have many problems
feeling and interest in common.  

My thoughts

I am always interested in new and different things to read and decided to give this book a try. 

I ended up having so many issues with this story, that really, I have no idea where to begin.  I guess we should start where all books do - the cover. 

When I looked at the cover, I found it cute and it reminded me of a picture you would see in a child's story.  This (mistakenly) gave me the impression that it would be something that I would be able to share with children. 

I then read the book description (for those of you who follow my reviews, I read the whole thing this time).  In the book description, it talks about traditions and art, stating that they did research by visiting 6 West African countries.  This (mistakenly) gave me the impression that this play (ooh play - this does sound exciting) would be based on the arts, on traditions - on the continent of Africa itself, but focusing on these countries they visited.

I then looked down at the genre: History & Criticism, Art, Art History, Africa.  This (mistakenly) reinforced what I gained from the book description.

So I open the book, excited to begin reading this play, and get started.

First, there are a lot of editing issues.  These don't effect my star rating of this play, but they do make it hard to enjoy the book.  Mainly, the missing words, the misspellings and the lack of punctuation.

Second, the grandsons in this story (Eze and Chike) are really big jerks, to be honest.  Their rude behavior, the way they treat their grandfather (and everyone else around them), the things they are willing to do to make themselves money without doing a thing ... truly despicable.  I spent the main part of the book just getting angrier and angrier.  This was FAR from a relaxing read for me.  I found myself tense and irritated long after I put this book down.

Three, I really have no idea what this play has to do with the art and tradition of Africa.  I mean, we can say that the play IS, in fact, a piece of African art, though not a beautiful one, but the way it is made out to be is not what it actually is.  It's not a beautiful piece of art work based on what these people learned in these 6 countries at all.  It's watching two spoiled, petulant, hateful, disgusting grown men mistreat everyone around them and refuse to listen when someone (several someones) tries to tell them that they should be nicer, then watching these same two be so fake nice it's disgusting to their grandfather because they want to inherit his money.  And, as far as I'm concerned, the ending did nothing to redeem this story.  The only thing that can make it an "African" story is that it was set in Africa, but this kind of behavior could have been anywhere. 

I VERY RARELY rate things below a 3 and when I began writing this review, I had decided that I would give this book that because the guy did go and make the effort of writing it, but the more I wrote, the more I realized that I just could not give it an average rating.  Maybe someone else will like it, but for me, it seemed a cop-out and the things that led me to read the book seemed like false advertising.

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