Book Title: Book review of Confessions of a Kenyan Uber Driver
Author: Charles Chanchori Ndegwa
Reviewed by: Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya
Price: Free on Okadabooks.com
Uber, uber, uber. Everyone has an uber tale- from the good to the bad and the downright ugly. Thing is, the tale is usually from the passengers point of view as they review the conduct of the drivers. Kind of what I’m doing with this review.
In the Confessions of a Kenyan Uber Driver, the tables are turned as the driver is the one with a tale to tell about a life-changing experience with a passenger.
Witty, captivating. Tense. Those are the first words that come to mind as I read the opening banter between the protagonist driver and his passenger as they meander through several topics. The passengers definition of peace as boring brings to the fore, the force that drives various people in their daily pursuits.
A truly bizarre moment occurs when the passenger take a ‘dump’ in the middle of the biggest highway in the country and lets us know that truly insane, terror-inspiring moments lie in wait. It takes a few more page turns to realize that Daniel, the uber driver has been kidnapped by his gun-waving, seemingly demented passenger who may or may not be done with killing especially when he reveals that he has some hand grenades in his arsenal. What is going on here? I asked the same thing!
Then the confessions start. Maybe Daniel has been looking for someone to share his pain and being in this situation with a crazy man who has hijacked his car and kidnapped him is just what he needs. Daniel reveals that his wife has been having an affair for three years… and she thinks he doesn’t know.
Our demented passenger follows through with some confessions of his own- of love gained and lost because he thought his lover was too good for him. We see then that this man must be in some sort of pain which he channels as he gun whips a drunken man who was beating an equally drunken woman. Through the words on the page and my mind’s eye, I know this confrontation is bloody and brutal.
Our crazy passenger is crazed with the pain of the death of his lover- who followed him to the battlefields of Somalia and died at the hands of suicide bombers. He is crazed because even after massacring a village in vengeance, his heart still remembers what it has lost.
And in this, Daniel learns that perhaps, he has never truly loved, not like this, not enough to go mad while singing love ballads with tears running down your face. Our suddenly not-so-crazy passenger is not done. After he pays his uber fare he advices Daniel to live and not die while he’s still alive.
These were not the confessions of an uber driver. They were the confessions of a troubled soul- who may or may not have found what he sought in the afterlife. After he pulled the trigger.