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review 2017-12-15 14:23
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah

I enjoyed this memoir, which is exactly what it says on the tin, a collection of stories about the author’s childhood and youth in South Africa. It’s a quick read, flows well and is often funny. The writing is clear and has a distinctive voice. It’s aimed at American readers and so tends to explain South Africa in terms of the U.S., which can be helpful if you are in fact an American reader; Noah takes the time to explain things and I learned from it. Despite the grim backdrop – at the time Noah was born, it was illegal for black and white people to have children together, and when out in public his mother would sometimes find a woman of a more similar skin tone to pretend to be his mother – it’s an enjoyable book, told with energy and personality. Ending on the 40-page chapter about the abusive stepfather who wound up shooting his mom (no spoilers, this is mentioned in the first chapter) was a downer though.

 

I don’t read a lot of celebrity memoirs, and, fairly or unfairly, tend to be more skeptical about them than about memoirs by otherwise unknown authors. Noah fuels my skepticism with a few inconsistencies: he tells a story about himself as a toddler chasing his father through a park calling “Daddy! Daddy!” and then later on tells us that he never called his father “Daddy” or anything else other than his first name because it was too dangerous. Meanwhile some of the other stories seem likely to be embellished versions of what really happened. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book and think it is a good choice for those who enjoy memoirs or want to learn more about South Africa, as well as of course fans of Trevor Noah.

 

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review 2017-10-27 13:32
Born a Crime
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah

I borrowed the hardback from a friend. When I heard the audio (and I never listen to audios) was narrated by the author himself, I opted to listen to it instead. This made for nice entertainment to and from work for the last 2 weeks. 
Trevor Noah has improved from his first day, week, and year on The Daily Show. The Daily Show was my introduction to him. I hadn't heard about him prior to that. I learned so much about South African history from this book. He had an interesting upbringing (that's putting it mildly). And his mother; what a woman! Wow! There was so much to admire about her. 
The only thing that lacked: how he became a comedian. How did he progress from being a DJ to where he is now? That's not talked about in this book. But, anything else? Eye opening. Thought provoking. And most of all? You can learn something and be entertained. This was interesting.

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review 2017-10-17 04:28
Born a Crime
Born a Crime - Trevor Noah

I was not really familiar with Trevor Noah when this book became available on NetGalley, but the title stood out. Later, when it was still on my to-read pile, I got a "you should read this" note from my sister-in-law through Goodreads. Since this was unusual, I moved it to the top of my list.

 

I was at the University of Maryland during the height of the Anti-Apartheid protests, and I was a (very small!) part of the protests outside the South African embassy in DC. Nevertheless, my concept of life in South Africa was very limited. Noah's essays provide a unique perspective of a life on the fringes of so many different cultures. They are at turns heartbreaking and hilarious, for every outrageous thing Noah does there is an equally outlandish story about his mother. Mother and son are almost, as they say, two sides of the same coin. I agree with Noah when he describes the book as a love letter to his mother, it is all that and so much more. A must read, sure to move and inspire.

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text 2017-07-24 05:00
24 in 48 Readathon: It's a Wrap
Whispers Under Ground - Ben Aaronovitch
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah
Strangers on a Train - Patricia Highsmith

I met my goal of 24 hours reading. Yay!

 

I finished 3 books:

 

Whispers Under Ground: 10 hours, 17 minutes

Born A Crime: 8 hours, 50 minutes

Strangers on a Train: 289 pages.

 

Both audiobooks were both great choices for a readathon, but highly recommended for anytime.

 

I'm off to bed.  I'm exhausted.

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review 2017-07-03 01:58
audio freebie
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah

This book really stalked me. It's true; I'm not even a huge fan of the Daily Show. Look, it isn't Stewart or Noah, it's just not really my thing. I've even given up watching Samantha Bee after the election too - I just can't for some reason. But Noah in his interviews has always stuck me as someone to listen to so I figured why not. I picked up a copy, for free, at the MLA convention, and then later Audible offered me the audio book for free.

See, stalking.

 

But I can see why. Noah tells stories from his life - in particular about growing up in a society where literally he should not exist - his mother is black, his father white. That should not be. He is also geeky and uncool. Yet, perhaps it was his status as outsider that allowed him such a view into what he was witnessing.

 

Noah's stories include what happened with his crew, including top dancer Hitler, when they played gigs, his experience in schools, his ability to pray, and a very funny story involving shit that is also very profound.

 

But most of all, the book is a testament to his mother, who sounds like one hell of a lady.

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