"My life bagun not when I was born but when I just peeped out"
The Journey Master is a novel about journeys; the journeys that the narrator has made in his life in pursuit of education and a fulfilling career. Though later in life religion seems to occupy a better part of his life due to the obvious (sometimes unfortunate) events unfolding and affecting him directly.
The journeys have always not been pleasant. Right from birth, the narrator has always found himself at the receiving end as everything unfortunate seem to be happening to him alone and wonder if he is not in the wrong lane of life. Early in life he could not respond to any of these challenges due to his innocence and the primitivity of the society he lived in.
All the experiences herein are told with overwhelming humour that is likely to make the reader miss out the narrator's point and thus don't bring out the expected pity on the narrator's pains and sorrows.
The narrator explores the social life of the community he lives in and relives our memories on the golden days when cameramen were rare, life was communal and other remarkable events in Kenyan history including the unfortunate bomb blast of 1998.
Through his high school life, he highlights the experiences, challenges and the influence from peers that almost put the narrator off course. The life is typical of any other adolescent who is repulsive, wants more food, less work and more freedom. He explains how he managed to stick to his academics and amid all these, how they managed to narrowly evade an otherwise destructive strike and the struggle to win infantile love from the neighbouring girls schools. He also mentions the historical post-election violence of 2007/08 that paralysed the nation following the disputed presidential election and how it affected him directly.
After school he found out that he could not get what he used to be provided with while at school. He realises he has to work to clothe and maintain himself. He secures casual jobs in town which expose him to the luring aspects of an urban town life full of excessive freedom, money, girls and alcohol. Nevertheless, he tells of the burning desire in him that makes him overcome these temptations.
Apart from highlighting interactions with diverse cultures, the book also teaches many things:
Contention with the little one has. ( referring to Buzz Aldrin and the Apollo Mission),
Using the past to build the future,
Accepting failure as a catapult to success,
Always daring and forging on in life instead of warming a comfort zone and promoting local tourism through appreciating and enjoying the beauty of the immediate environment.
The reader is able to monitor the narrator's language grow gradually from the days of his innocence at the beginning to complex and proficient even as he later criticizes the paverted religion and its fundamentals.
What however stands throughout the novel is the narrator's attachment to his grandmother whom he describes: "age has no impact on her"
The Journey Master refers to the narrator and the journeys are both literal and metaphorical.
Hope you enjoy!