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Review: Born a Crime

Review: Born a CrimeTitle: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
Author(s): Trevor Noah
Genre(s): Memoir, Non-Fiction
Pages: 288 (Kindle)
Source: Library
For: Play Book Tag
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

My Thoughts

I read Born a Crime because the topic for this month for my Goodreads PBT group is Autobiography and because Trevor Noah is one of my favorite comedians.

Born a Crime was a very fascinating read. I learned a great deal about South Africa and the apartheid. Truth be told, until I became familiar with Noah as a comedian, I didn’t know his existence was a crime during the apartheid.

I honestly found Noah’s childhood interesting to read about because of not only how he was treated, but also because of the experiences he had as well. It amazes me how much he was considered an outsider in his own community because his skin was lighter than others. And, I thought it was interesting that language often helped him bridge the gap between his peers; he was only accepted because he was a “chameleon” and could speak their language as well as they could.

While reading Noah’s memoir, there were times I was laughing in stitches, at other times I was in shock and disbelief, and yet other times I was angry at the injustices he witnessed and experienced. I know I’ve lived a very sheltered life, but I’ve never realized how easy my life has been until reading some of these experiences.

I’m glad I took the time to read Born a Crime. It opened my eyes to the atrocities of the world in other areas than just in European and American history. I now realize that while the Holocaust was a horrible time in the world, it’s not necessarily the worst thing that has happened. It all depends on your point-of-view and many of the world’s atrocities are glossed over still because people don’t want to take responsibility for the part they or their ancestors played in slavery or racism because it’s still very much alive today.

Review: The Joy Luck Club

Review: The Joy Luck ClubTitle: The Joy Luck Club
Author(s): Amy Tan
Genre(s): Contemporary
Pages: 288 (Paperback)
Source: Own
For: Play Book Tag
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. With wit and wisdom, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters. As each reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined...

My Thoughts

I read The Joy Luck Club because the topic for this month for my Goodreads PBT group is Asia.

The Joy Luck Club was a very interesting read. I especially enjoyed reading the mothers’ stories and their hardships in China and how they came to the US. I actually wish the book would’ve focused more on them and their time in China.

I also enjoyed the nods to Chinese and Chinese-American culture. I learned quite a bit while reading The Joy Luck Club. It was interesting that even though the mothers joined a Christian church upon their arrival in the US, they retained some of their Buddhist beliefs throughout their lives.

I also found it interesting to see the differences between the mothers and the daughters. Because of the American culture around the daughters, the daughters couldn’t help but grow up American. Yet, I thought the mothers would’ve taught their children more about their culture. The daughters could understand Chinese, but they couldn’t speak it very well nor could they read or write the characters.

While I found the book interesting, I found the characters to be a little flat. Their voices were similar and the only reason I could tell each of them a part was because each of their stories were different. And, as I said, I would’ve rather the book focused more on the mothers and their hardships in China than on their life in the US with their daughters. For these reasons, I’m only giving The Joy Luck Club three stars.

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Review: Artemis

Review: ArtemisTitle: Artemis
Author(s): Andy Weir
Genre(s): Mystery, Science Fiction
Pages: 322 (Kindle)
Source: Own
For: Book Club, Play Book Tag
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you're not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you've got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

My Thoughts

I read Artemis because my work just formed an impromptu book club and chose Artemis as its first book and the topic for this month for my Goodreads PBT group is science.

I really liked Artemis for the most part. In fact I thought it was interesting and it makes me want to read The Martian, which I was on the fence about before. Weir includes the science part in a way that makes it fun and interesting, not boring or like I’m listening to a lecture in school.

The reason I’m only giving Artemis 3 stars is because of the main character Jazz Bashara. I liked her, but she read more like a teenage boy than a 23-year-old woman. During the first part of the book, I couldn’t figure out what it was that seemed off, but then I read someone else’s review that mentioned the teenage boy thing and I immediately thought, “Yes, that’s exactly it!” Does that mean she’s all bad because she reads like a teenage boy? No. In fact, I liked her sassiness and don’t-take-crap-from-anyone attitude. She just said some things that no woman I know would say.

I still think the book is worth a read. It kept my interest and I really wanted to know what was going on, who was behind everything, and what would happen in the end. I even made some guesses as to who the bad guy was. I was way off. 😉