4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Warm-hearted and distinctive memoirs,
This review is from: Out of Africa (Essential Penguin) (Paperback)
Kate Blixen writes about her time on her coffee plant during inter-war Kenya with warmth, compassion and occasional wit. Her opinion of the local tribe, the Kikuyu, was far more sympathetic than I would have guessed colonial emigrants to have thought- she sometimes seems amused at some of their customs and slightly patronising but with it comes a real love for these people. This is where OOA shines- Blixen's interaction with the Swahili speaking Kikuyu is entertaining, enlightening and amusing- we can see her learning through her stay in Kenya and becoming a more balanced person.
Alas, as with many memoirs, there is little direction to her writing or plot that is one reason why the film varied from the book so much. As wonderful a picture Blixen paints of Africa there feels "gaps" to the story- possibly where she refuses to confess personal details. This is fine as an autobiography goes- sometimes writing can be bogged down in too many personal details- but if you prefer plot driven stories then OOA may be a disappointment. Her story is a large painting of Kenya with its environment and people taking centre stage. As an illustration of Africa in the 1920's you will find no finer book.