I feel like it's been a really long time since I wrote any posts, but I guess it hasn't been all that long really. A lot has happened, is all. I went on a trip! I visited one of my best friends, who now lives in Utah, and we went to a women's conference at BYU. I spent a leisurely hour touring the BYU main library, and now I need to live there. Otherwise, I've mostly been working a lot -- just a week and a bit left to go! -- hanging out with the family, and trying to get sort of caught up with the house in spare moments (a bootless effort, I fear). Two very busy weekends in a row have meant no time for Howling Frog and now I have a large pile of books! One of which is...
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, by Trevor Noah
You've probably seen this book everywhere; I know I have. I know who Trevor Noah is, but I've seen almost nothing of what he's done, since I hardly watch any TV. That does not matter, though, because this memoir is not at all about becoming a big star in comedy. It's about growing up in South Africa, being born under apartheid and living through the post-apartheid years. And it's especially about Noah's mother, who is about as dauntless and brave a person as you could hope to find.
Noah, with a Swiss father and a Xhosa mother, was literally 'born a crime' because apartheid was still in full force and cross-racial dating or marriage was punishable by prison time. As you all know, the races were strictly divided into black, colored, and white -- and little Trevor looked colored but was not, which meant that he learned to navigate a lot of different groups and speak several languages, because he figured out that if he could speak to people as a member of the group, he was accepted as one.
He was also, evidently, about the naughtiest kid ever born -- smart and undeterred by painful experience ("I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new").
This memoir consists largely of three ingredients: his mom's amazing bravery, insightful descriptions of how South African society worked, and his own hair-raising adventures. Of course, Noah manages to turn events that must have been quite terrifying into comedic episodes that make you laugh -- without taking away the seriousness of what happened. It's a very interesting read, and deserves the attention it's been getting.