Trevor Noah is one of the few non-book YouTube channels that I watch. When I saw that he released a memoir I purchased it right away. This book is the story of Noah's childhood in Africa. He was born to a European father and an African mother during the Apartheid where his birth was a crime. The book is a story of his life, what it was like to live in South Africa between cultures. Unlike most comedian memoirs this book is not funny. There are parts that are humorous, but it was not to give a comedic perspective of his life. Rather, I found it more informative. I wonder if it is a response to him seeing what is happening in America and wanting to bring awareness. Even if that was not the intention, it is what I took away from the book.
The book itself is extremely well written. Noah's voice is apparent in the book. The narration was captivating. It was mostly chronological with some skipping back and forth between sections of his life. It was very easy to picture his family, his home, and his childhood. Noah has an amazing way of telling a story that captures you and keeps you going for the entire tale.
I have very mixed emotions about this book. On one hand, it is a brilliant story of an African American family transitioning from slavery to freedom. In that regards it is a brilliant piece of literature and I can understand why it is cherished.
Yet, the writing is extremely confusing. The story seems so abstract at times that I found myself completely lost. When I would catch up on what was happening I was still very disconnected to the characters. A huge part of that may be my own cultural disconnection. However, I think it was also done on purpose by Morrison.
The story was disturbing. How it was told was even more disturbing. I am not a huge fan of disturbing. However, even with that opinion, I do see value in reading this book. There is also a high likelihood that you will fall in love with it. It seems to be the type of book that you love or you hate. While I can appreciate both sides I ultimately was not very fond of this book. I did rate it three stars because Morrison is a genius writer, the story has value, and I could understand how others could really connect to this book.
Imagine your entire world changing one day while you are going about an innocent childhood day. That is what happened to Ishmael Beah. One day he was working on a rap group with his friends. The next he was struggling to survive.
The story is one that everyone should hear.
Unfortunately, Ishmael's story is not unique. What is unique is his gift to share that experience with the rest of the world. He is clearly a highly intelligent and communicative young man. This was realized long before the book was released when he was chosen to represent his country at the United Nations. That experience gave him a way to get out of his country. Yet, how many children were left behind?
Once you read this book it will become a part of you. It is due to the topic, children as young a six picking up a gun to defend their country is not something that will leave your mind. Yet, it is also due to Ishmael Beah's gift with words.
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