Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda is a constant struggle for 11-year-old Phiona and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende, a missionary who teaches children how to play chess. Phiona becomes fascinated with the game and soon becomes a top player under Katende’s guidance. Her success in local competitions and tournaments opens the door to a bright future and a golden chance to escape from a life of poverty.
The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers
genre: Non-Fiction, Biography
“It’s all about what she knows and not who she is or where she comes from.”
The queen of Katwe is a compelling and powerful book. Not only is it an inspiring story but it also is a tremendous eye-opener. Instead of being raised to accomplish dreams young girls are raised to be mothers, at young ages. Even though I didn’t necessarily love the authors writing style, I still was inspired.
things I didn’t like
I didn’t love the writing style. The author jumped around a lot and it was hard to keep straight who he was talking about. The title is a little deceiving as there are so many other people the book is actually about.
I also feel the tagline, & synopsis is misleading as this story is more than Phiona’s story to discuss the children and chess program of Katwe. Clearly, anyone’s story takes a village. No one gets somewhere without help, mentors, family, etc. But a good percentage of the book was spent dealing with the backstories of these folks, which again, for the most part, didn’t add value to the telling of Phiona’s story.
The writing is a bit too dry, but it can’t really mask a fabulous story of redemption and hope where none were supposed to exist.
I had also seen the movie a few years ago and the movie is quite different from the book.
things I did like
I loved the book cover! It is beautifully designed!
Phiona – an amazing, talented young girl who lives in a slum in Kampala, Uganda and through hard work, perseverance and an incredible spirit, ends up playing against players from all over the world at the Chess Olympiad in Russia. She is a true inspiration and her story needed to be told.
I really wanted to love this book. I couldn’t love it, but maybe you will! Check it out here!
Thanks so much for reading this post!
Have you ever played chess? What are your thoughts on this book?