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Bingo's Run - James A. Levine

I loved this deliciously smart, clever little book, devouring it on one five hour read last night. Bingo is the trickster, a drug runner, thief, scam artist and the hero of our story. This book gave me a glimpse into the slums of Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya, where smart little Bingo is the “hustler extraordinaire.” He also has a wonderfully wicked sense of humor and perspective for a street kid from the ghetto in one of poorest parts of the world.

“Meet Bingo, the greatest drug runner in the slums of Kibera, Nairobi, and maybe the world. A teenage grifter, often mistaken for a younger boy, he faithfully serves Wolf, the drug lord of Kibera. Bingo spends his days throwing rocks at Krazi Hari, the prophet of Kibera’s garbage mound, “lipping” safari tourists of their cash, and hanging out with his best friend, Slo-George, a taciturn fellow whose girth is a mystery to Bingo in a place where there is never enough food. Bingo earns his keep by running “white” to a host of clients, including Thomas Hunsa, a reclusive artist whose paintings, rooted in African tradition, move him. But when Bingo witnesses a drug-related murder and Wolf sends him to an orphanage for “protection,” Bingo’s life changes and he learns that life itself is the “run.”

A modern trickster tale that draws on African folklore, Bingo’s Run is a wildly original, often very funny, and always moving story of a boy alone in a corrupt and dangerous world who must depend on his wits and inner resources to survive.”