Were speaks to a teen’s growing mind in an unassuming yet potent way.
From the beginning, she makes it clear no child in school has to go through bullying that mostly happens without the knowledge of the institution’s administration. Washington Namunyu’s ability to stand for himself saving even his fellow new comers from obvious torture is excellently stressed.
The insistenceon academics only, leaving out the other delights of high school has also been disparaged.
The High School Gentseemingly shouts loudly about the ability of young men and women to engage in extra-curricular activities vis-à-vis academics for holistic growth. Sports, clubs such as debate club, Readers club, Scouts, Girl Guides among others are illuminated in a positive light and their ability to transform timid teens into happy, lively and sharp young people in body and mind is very clear. In such meetings, friendships can grow and the best lessons and principles of life learned.
The Prisoner of Zendaby Anthony Hope and Richard Doddridge Blackmore's Lorna Doone capture the imagination of Namunyu and his friend Ginendwa.
They wonder whether they will ever find their own Lorna Doone and Princess Flavia. Miriam easily weaves some romance to captivate a young mind as Namunyu and Sarah collide in a Scouts camp.
She confronts the confusion that besets every teen at that age in relation to the issues of love and relationships.
Both Sarah and Namunyu will have to outgrow some strongly held principles and face the brutal pragmatisms of life.
Evidently, with proper leadership and clarity of purpose, a young romance can blossom even with piercing challenges.
The issue of dropping out of school due to unplanned pregnancies is also well netted. Fridah and Sarah while impressed and attracted to Ginendwa and Namunyu respectively have seen lots of classmates in Bulira Girls’ High end their pursuit of education due to unplanned pregnancies.
Most of the culprits, mostly boys in school desert them and the girls have to vacate their learning with shame.
Miriam Were makes a case for termination of correspondence where intentions are not for something that lasts while being perceptively alive to the fact that friendships and intense relationships are a reality among teens.
High school is obviously where minds are shaped about many things including career. The confusion and influence by parents and sponsors on young minds in the choice of their future endeavours is a sour captured in The High School Gent.
Miriam Were seems to motivate young people to stand for what they want to pursue in future. She convincingly shows there is life for those unable to join colleges and high education institutions for any reason. Young people should be left to decide their future without parental or societal coercion.
The High School Genthas been reprinted since 2005 by Mvule Africa Publishers.
It is the perfect book to hand a Kenyan teen at home for the long 2017 holiday season to capture his or her imagination about life, youthful romance, career matters, education, school engagement and interaction, effective decision-making, dealing with personal and family tragedies among other issues Miriam Khamadi Were has been able to capture in a fast-moving, captivating story.