‘I try and I made it’: Review of the Book ‘The boy who harnessed the wind’

The boy who harnessed the wind

The first time I saw the book The boy who harnessed the wind, it was in a bookstore. Because I had gone to look for something else, I foolishly decided to stay focused and ignored it.

Then someone gifted me the book few days later. The encounter taught me one thing: never ignore a book when its calling you. And believe me, this book was definitely calling me.

Book review: the boy who harnessed the wind

About the Boy who harnessed the wind

The boy who harnessed the wind is a memoir of the life of William Kamkwamba written by himself and Bryan Mealer.

William is a Malawian man who saved his village from famine.

He managed to achieve extraordinary results in a life of poverty, famine and having to drop out of school. Amidst a life of darkness – both literary and figuratively.

He decided to do something about the literal darkness and made a windmill from the most unlikely materials. As the bulbs went on in his house, the dark in his life dissipated until there was joy and laughter, not only in his home but in the homes of those around him.

What I like about the book is that it managed to surpass my expectations. I expected to be challenged and inspired by what he had achieved because I already knew of William’s story.

But the book helped me realize that like most people, I didn’t understand the magnitude of what he had achieved.

And as I went even further, there was a time I transitioned from just reading a retelling of what had happened and I found myself appreciating the creative part of the book. I really didn’t expect this from the book because I know William as a science geek but I suspect this to be Bryan’s.

The book will teach one or two things about the Malawian history. It will also help you understand how decisions made by the big people of the country affected the individuals lives in the most remote areas of the country.

One of my favorite part was when the book was talking about how William’s family faced the 2002 famine. It was the ugly truth of the season but written so beautifully I had a hard time closing the book. And when I finally did, I told my friend over and over again about it (how hard it must have been for her).

This was not just a book, it was a journey. Where I laughed- like when I read of how his mother and father met (such a bold woman). There were times I was just sad and tears came into my eyes. It was trauma at the hands of a paperback but in the end it was a worth it.

I also liked how the book has more than one hero. Yes, William is the main character, but his story is not complete without Mai Sikelo, nor Geoffrey nor Gilbert and many others. Not even without Nkhamba, the dog whose death not only broke William’s heart but mine as well.

Dr. Mchazime inspired me. The man unselfish and willing to sacrifice to make it happen for William. Until the world got to know of a Malawian boy who once school dropped out of school. A boy whose grief of not having to be in school drove him to a small library where from the books he read, taught himself how to build a windmill from unconventional materials and brought water to his house. A young man so unpolished he answered in a broken English when asked how he had come up with the idea during TED conference ‘I try, and I made it.’

So if you asking if I think you should read this book: absolutely. In this book you will find principles of success that will challenge your beliefs on what you can make of your life, and it will inspire you to venture on that dream you have even if it might sound insane to others. And most importantly, you will be achieving all this whilst enjoying yourself.

So I know you probably have already seen the movie, but read the book too because trust me what I tell you this: the book will inspire you.

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Good read

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