You want to live in a world where someone is good or bad. Where you either hate them or love them. But that’s not how people are.
Trevor Noah | 2016 | 306 Pages
Comedian Trevor Noah, known these days for his role hosting the Daily Show, recounts his childhood growing up in South Africa. Born to a Xhosa mother and a swiss father, Noah’s mix-race birth was literally illegal during Apartheid. This collection of stories ranges from informative, to hilarious, to deeply sad, narrating a difficult existence in a world that doesn’t quite know what to do with you.
This book was amazing, and I struggle to collect my thoughts without gushing about everything and anything. It is a story about a place and time that is very foreign to me, but also a place that didn’t really know how to treat Noah himself. As a mixed-race child in a world of strong segregation, he had experiences that many of his friends and family members didn’t. He tells stories of his family- about his independent and wonderful mother, his absent father, his abusive step-father, and his friends, cousins, and fellow troublemakers. He intertwines the personal tales with facts on South Africa, giving additional insight and context.
The result is a deeply funny, fascinating, and infuriating book that paints a vivid picture of a family trying to march forward surrounded by bigotry and adversity.
This is a book that I would 100% recommend you listen to in the audio format. Noah does the narration himself, complete with the dialects and accents of his family and community members. It adds a depth to each anecdote that might be missing on the page alone.
I’m really hoping there is a follow-up. The stories are largely about Noah’s childhood and immediate family and don’t really touch on how he got into his career and current place. Tales from adulthood only spring up to make a connection with previously introduced characters and theme. The structure as-is makes for a more cohesive narrative overall, but I’d absolutely read more.
Should You Read This?
Yes, absolutely. Better yet, listen to it, as I mentioned above. I learned a great deal, and not just about the guys whose tv show clips I catch on Youtube every now and then. I feel like I have a better understanding of what went on in South Africa, which is an applicable and appropriate contrast to what is going on in my own United States today.
I learned a great deal, and not just about the guys whose tv show clips I catch on Youtube every now and then. I feel like I have a better understanding of what went on in South Africa, which is an applicable and appropriate contrast to what is going on in my own United States today. And can’t we all benefit from more perspective?