Title: Born A Crime
Author / Narrator: Trevor Noah
Genre: Non-Fiction / Autobiography
First published: 2016
Edition: Audio book
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.
This was a book that had been on my audio-book wishlist for a while and I am glad I finally listened to it. I really enjoyed hearing Trevor Noah talking about growing up in South Africa. He manages to talk about the hardships of growing up a child of a white father and a black mother during Apartheid and the subsequent economic turbulence without ever sounding like he feels sorry for himself.
Hearing about the situation in South Africa from a unique perspective was incredibly interesting.I knew some of the stories already from his stand-up comedy, but I still enjoyed hearing them again. The tone of his narrative is playful, even if he does talk about very serious subjects and events. He is matter-a-fact, but explains the situations he found himself in very well and does not sugarcoat too much.
I would highly recommend this one if you like Trevor Noah or if you enjoy a good autobiography that focuses on growing up and place rather than on celebrity.
6 out of 7 stars
Title: Set The Boy Free
Author / Narrator: Johnny Marr
Genre: Non-Fiction / Autobiography / Music
First published: 2016 by Dey Street Books
Edition: Audio book
Although I knew about Johnny Marr, I really became aware of him when he was playing with The Cribs on their album Ignore The Ignorant. Of course I had listened to The Smiths and knew some of their songs, but they were before my time (just). What I have come to realise over the years is how well respected Johnny Marr is as a guitarist and as a person and I have been wanting to read his autobiography for a while.
It took me a little while to get used to Johnny Marr’s writing and narrating style, but now I have listened to him tell his journey through life and music, I feel I have come to know him bette and I have a whole new appreciation for him. His style is very matter-a-fact, quite dry and yet drenched in passion for what he does. Passion is a wonderful characteristic to have and he has it in spades.
This book won’t be for everyone and if you were expecting digs at former bandmates (Morrissey anyone?), you will be disappointed, as Johnny is far too much of a gentleman to go down to that level. If you expect rock ‘n’ roll excess, there is little of that here. He met the love of his life at fifteen and never looked back. How beautiful is that?!
If there is one thing I took away from this audio book it is how humble Johnny Marr and at the same time how aware he is of the legacy that he has created as a guitarist in The Smiths and all the other bands he played with. The passion and love he has for music and playing the guitar shines through and you can not help but warm up to him as a person.
If you love music, like me, and want to know more about Johnny Marr and the bands he played with, it is worth picking up this book. I think it worked well as an audio book. I found Johnny Marr’s voice quite soothing, even if not very dynamic.
5 out of 7 stars