Snapshot: Binti – Nnedi Okorafor


Paperback, 90 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by
Source: Library

  1. For a book that is only 96 pages long, Binti manages to grip the imagination and heart more wholly and more quickly than books three or four times the length.
  2. The story is deceptively simple: a girl, tired of her family’s highhanded ways, decided to run away…to school.
  3. Yeah, didn’t see that coming, did you? Usually kids run the other way from school.
  4. Binti is part of a desert tribe (I think) on Earth in a world that has dramatically expanded after space travel was achieved and contact with species other than human was achieved.
  5. What I am trying to say in this convoluted way is: science fiction. With aliens, planets, spaceships, and murder.
  6. All of which we have seen before but what makes Binti so breathtaking is how focused this experience is on person, on one body.
  7. I’m still not getting it right.
  8. Binti’s people cover themselves with a particular kind of earth, something red that smells sweet and acts sort of like a dye.
  9. Binti didn’t know the extent of its properties until she is away on a spaceship far from home and in the midst of hostile aliens who want to do her harm.
  10. They can’t because this earth she’s wearing protects her.
  11. That’s…powerful, don’t you think?
  12. I certainly do.
  13. This tradition of wearing earth in their hair and on their bodies has caused Binti and her people to be reviled by the others.
  14. These other people have no trouble taking the technologies her family makes (and only her family makes) but their culture and traditions are somehow uncivilized and unsavage.
  15. Anyway, Binti knows she risks getting exiled forever from home when she leaves to go to the university she was accepted at but her thirst for learning is such that she is willing to go anyway.
  16. It’s nice to see education given that kind of importance, ya know?
  17. Binti’s adventure and intelligence is evident as she survives her much more harrowing than expected trip to the university planet.
  18. She acquits herself in a manner that leaves no doubt about her smartness but without being Mary Sue-ish about the whole thing.
  19. Binti is fully cognizant of how much she has sacrificed of herself to achieve this academic dream and it truthfully rips her apart as one would expect.
  20. Being away from family and all you hold dear, even if it is by choice, is difficult.
  21. But she is resourceful and resilient. And she has an unexpected friend by her side.
  22. The book is written wonderfully, Binti is an intriguing character, the worldbuilding is awesome.
  23. Just bring all the superlatives. Even the ones no one uses anymore.
  24. Write panegyrics.
  25. Read this book.
  26. Do it.

One response to “Snapshot: Binti – Nnedi Okorafor

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