While my book of choice generally falls under the mystery/crime genre (ok, sometimes trashy romance too), on every other occasion I like to feed my brain some vegetables. The vegetables this season were: The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas & Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah.
I smiled, cried and got angry with both books. Highly recommend them.
The Hate you Give
I can't even pretend to know what it feels like to be born knowing you are already a target because of the color of your skin. While yes, I am considered a "minority" on more ways than one, most of us (hispanics) are never taught to be afraid of police. (That of course, will probably change, considering our current US leader.)
This book tore me apart. I couldn't help but cry and get angry at the things that were happening. T.H.U.G, tells the heartbreaking story of a young girl named Starr "living in two very different worlds". Starr witnesses her childhood friend Khalil die in the most horrific way—killed by a cop for no good reason. Starr struggles to carry on with her life after this traumatic event, while also dealing with friend and family drama. This is a BLM story and an important book to read, it is unforgettable.
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood (Audiobook)
I was already crushing on Trevor Noah and listening to his autobiography/collected essays (while having him speak in different languages to my ear) just took the crush to the next level.
While there is a lot of humor sprinkled around the book, his childhood was f*cked up. Unique? No. F*cked up nevertheless.
Trevor tells his memories in the most endearing and honest way. Every time I finished listening to a section, I felt the need to hug someone. This world is so messed up, I needed to spread love.
His essays are about politics, social class, education, living in poverty and teenage heartbreak.
As a "colored" child, Trevor struggles to figure out where he fits in the world. He explains how social class and the color of his skin impacted his treatment and upbringing. His mother, an incredible woman trying to show him "the right way", is a constant protagonist to his essays. You come to love her strength as well as admire what we may think are her weaknesses through Trevor's eyes.
Perhaps the essays that have stuck with me the most, were his views on crime. He explains how the definition of crime might be extremely different for you depending on your social status.
One example given, is of a mother buying a box of cereal from the back of a truck (most likely stolen by an internal worker to be resold at a cheaper price.) Technically she is aiding and supporting the thief by purchasing stolen goods, but what if this woman has 4 hungry kids at home and she can only afford that one box of cereal at that specific price. What if this "thief" had a dying wife at home and a starving new-born that had not been fed anything for 3 days. Would you do the same in their position? Yeah, pause for a second and let those words SINK IN.
The funnier/light-hearted parts are probably his anecdotes as the "naughty child" of the family; you will smile at most of his mischievousness... while also feeling like shit for everything that he went through. While his sense of humor was definitely one of the reasons I wanted to listen to his book, I got so much more out of it. His stories will remain with me for a long time.
I could go on and on on each chapter but I think it's better if you experience it yourself. I suggest you listen to it to get the full Trevor experience.