Sometimes, life holds bad experiences, and when these happen, we can’t help but running. This is the great and deep meaning of a bestseller book titled Bingo’s Run, by James A. Levine. The author is a famous American doctor that cooperated with ONU and FAO to help people, above all children, in Africa. Thanks to his experience and intimate knowledge of African troubles, Levine developed the high skill to write fiction books and novels which seem nearly true, almost biographical.
This novel is, indeed, the story of Bingo, a Kenyan boy affected from a growth disorder. Despite he is 15 years old, he looks like a ten year child. This is his best luck and misfortune simultaneously, because Bingo lost his entire family, the father missed, and the mother stabbed by Lupo, a sort of African mafia boss who smuggles drug, or rather “the white” as Bingo calls the substance, namely heroin. Bingo works, indeed, as a drug runner for the murderer of his mother. And this is the most poignant side of the story, because when a person, above all, a child, loses everything in a very poor Country like Africa, he is forced to do anything to survive or at least buy a piece of bread.
The book of Levine is a harsh and opened lesson of life, a deep account about the awful economic conditions in Africa, a book which makes us understand the world can also become a hell, especially when rights and equality are routinely denied! Bingo, the main character of the book, is pictured not as a cynic guy or a criminal, but as a human boy searching his place in life. At a certain stage, the plot of the book leads Bingo into an orphanage, where he meets two ominous and strange persons: Father Matthew and Mrs. Steele. Through these further characters, Levine unveils the black side of people and teaches us that none is ever what he seems.
Father Matthew is the one who keeps a list of dirty affairs in the page of his Bible, Mrs. Steele is a divorced American woman who works as an art dealer and who would adopt Bingo, apparently, but during the story, Bingo will have to face many adversities to understand the real soul of people who are around him and discover his true self. I read the Italian version of the book, translated by Laura Prandino. If the translated version is wonderful, I suppose the original in English is likewise.
The book is enriched with quotes and aphorisms about the meaning of life, sentences which Bingo heard from the mouth of his grandfather, who taught him some commandments to face life honestly and bravely. The aphorisms will remain forever in the heart of readers. They are true, meaningful, just as the same characters of the book: they are also alive, real, heartfelt. This book grabs you from the first page and, at last, you discover that it’ll be just you who want to adopt Bingo. This character will remain forever in your heart, as well as the book will remain forever on the bookshelf of your favorites.