Author: Trevor Noah
Summary: Thoughtful, funny, moving, informative – this memoir was everything I could have ask for.
While I’ve been hearing good things about this memoir for a long time, I have to admit that I put off reading it because I was a little bitter at Trevor Noah for replacing Jon Stewart. I’m happy to admit that I’ve been wrong! This was a fantastic memoir about the author’s childhood, growing up biracial in South Africa at a time when the relationship between his black Xhosa mother and white Swiss father was illegal. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun reading it.
The author’s sense of humor was a big part of what made this book so good. He was able to talk about some dark times in his life without the story every becoming too depressing. And he was able to show his love and compassion for his mother in some truly moving stories without becoming sappy. I think his consistent tone and sense of humor also helped those two parts of the story become a cohesive whole.
I appreciated the inserts between chapters detailing the history and laws of South Africa. Even when I’m reading a memoir, I like to learn something from my nonfiction. The author’s story alone would have taught me a lot, because his experiences of class, race, and culture are so different from my own. I wanted more of a feel for South Africa as well though, so I enjoyed the context provided by the historical sections.
This felt like an easy, enjoyable read, but there was also a lot of depth to it. I’d recommend it to nearly anyone, because it’s both so informative and so entertaining. I don’t know why I’ve put off reading this for so long, but now I’m happy to second all the hype I’ve been hearing. If you want to learn about the world or just enjoy a good memoir, this is one you shouldn’t miss.