Book Review – Ake: The years of Childhood (Abridged)

Book Review - Ake - Abridged Version - Wole Soyinka


This abridged version of Ake was created for children and I remember reading this story in primary school. Don’t ask me why i decided to buy this book again… Okay, the cover made me do it. 

This book takes us through roughly 5 years of the Author’s childhood. We are introduced to a mischievous and perpetually inquisitive 3-year-old, who is incredibly thirsty for knowledge. The time period is a magical time in Nigeria’s history; there was hope of a bright future. Your kid could wander away from home and find someone to help him back. The police really were your friend. I have to say I got a little jealous of Wole Soyinka.

The book got off to a weird start, I didn’t understand anything he was saying in the first chapter. The vocabulary was super complex and if i didn’t get it, I’m afraid a child might lose interest right there. So, i recommend skipping that because once the story really gets going, it’s freaking amazing.

I loved the colourful nicknames assigned to various characters, Wole’s shaky friendship with Osiki (Lol!) and the intellectual relationship he had with his father. In all, it’s an engaging recollection; This is the first Wole Soyinka book I am reading as an Adult and i now fully appreciate his style.

The only question I have is this: How can he remember events from when he was 3 years old? I can hardly recall what i had for lunch yesterday…

My Verdict

Verdict interesting

The story was short and sweet and is basically an appetizer. Now I really want to read the full version. This would be a fun read for little kids, if you read it to them, preteens and lazy Adults like me.

The illustrations within the book are also pretty amazing. There is a study guide attached, for school children, and a glossary; Though I think this is still a bit complex for the target audience.

Get the book

Have you read this version of Ake or just the full version? Share your review in the comments below.

More Posts Like This


  1. The first time I read the book was about 6 years ago and truthfully want to take the book with me home but seeeing I wasn’t allowed because of the public library rule, I had to read the whole book at a sitting.
    One of those parts I could remember was the part where he wouldn’t allow his sister to bathe him giving his age as a determinant after a confrontation with his aunt LOL. I also remember that part of where he almost killed his dad with a gun!

    ..,………. Well I thinks you already taken the words off my mouth by your descriptions and review.

    This is one of the books I relished reading over and over again. I will love to have a (hard) copy but its been difficult to get it a different bookshops here. Perhaps I will have to do with the e version for now if I have access

    Thanks so much for sharing

    1. There’s a pdf copy available to download on this site dear

  2. I’m sorry to sound annoying but seriously can’t find the link to the PDF version except for the link to Playstore

      1. Wow! Thanks very much.
        Very much appreciated. ……… I can’t keep calm to start reading Lol.

  3. intellectual relationship, ehehn! Now I have a proper tag for the complexion of my interaction with some non-males

    Anyway,I think I should be able to read this one.