BY JACOB OKETCH
uestions of my youth is a book that is difficult to categorize if one is to strictly adhere to the typology of writings as we know it. I choose to call it an omnibus of sorts; it is a mix of narration, poetry and it even incorporates aspects of drama. This seems to be going against what the author has called the book, a treatise, suggesting that it is a formal essay.
One thing fundamentally makes the book an easy and comfortable read, the anecdotes are brief and on point. Even when the author is illustrating a point with a story, he keeps it as brief as possible. That way, the chapters take very little time read and the reader is able to transit to the next chapter quite effortlessly.
The author employs philosophical questions to engage the readers in a kind of soul searching regarding the issues he is tackling. This is a very ingenious way of dissociating himself from being judgemental. He leaves it to the reader to make his or her own decision and choice. This is a powerful way in which he endears himself to the readers.
In one of the chapters the author directly addresses his mother in the form of a letter. This greatly enhances the believability of the message. Again, the author gives several examples of his own experiences to illustrate his points. As readers, we are more likely to buy an argument that is supported by own experiences. This also eliminates the tendency of generalizations to advance a particular point. The author has drawn the readers quite close by telling his own story in what appears to be largely a motivational work.
The author’s thematic focus is diverse though his primary target seems to be the young people. And he tackles issues that in normal circumstances, we tend to take for granted. Take for instance, where he talks about “where does the 24 hours go?” Time management is one of the cornerstones of success yet very few people seriously take time to think about the implications of time use regarding the trajectory our lives take.
Questions of my Youth can be fully developed into a collection of fully-fledged essays to truly reflect the meaning of the subtitle of the book. The philosophical angle that the author has adopted gives room for other works to emerge as a way of responding to this book. It seems that the author has ignited a debate that can easily lead to creation of other works. More importantly, the author has come up with a unique way of penning a motivational piece. I have a feeling that this is the kind of book that can be easily read to the public as a motivational tool.
It has a few editorial flaws that could easily be dealt with by a reprint given that it has just been released and not so many copies are already in print. Nonetheless, it is a very thought provoking piece that every young person who is really focused on going a mile further, to achieve their aspirations, ought to lay their hands on.