Welcome to the final discussion of Born A Crime.
Did you enjoy the end of the book? I think this section was more intense than the others, just because of the whole mess with Abel.
In the beginning of this section, Noah spends some time talking about Alexandra and "the hood." I had no idea what Alexandra might look like, but I found this interesting video that shows the shacks of Alexandra and how they jut up to more wealthy areas. Check it out if you'd like to get more of a visual of the area Noah mentions a lot.
What did you think of the chapter in which Noah describes his pirating business and the money hustles they did? I was completely overwhelmed by all of the details they had to remember on a daily basis. They had so many deals happening at all times--I know I couldn't keep it all straight. It seemed to me like they were making a lot of money, so I was a little surprised when Noah commented that they were working a lot but not making any money. Did you enjoy his analogy about how, "hustling is to work what surfing the Internet is to reading" (p. 217)? I thought that was a really interesting comparison.
Noah writes about two different experiences in prison in this section. The first one is a really quick experience and reminds him that he has the opportunity to leave the hood when others don't. The second one is more intense, and it was very stressful to read about. I was terrified for him the entire time, thinking that he was going to be injured or attacked while in jail. His skill for languages came in handy again, though, when he helped that big, scary, Hulk-like guy talk to the guards. I am seriously so impressed by how great Noah is with languages. That is such a useful skill. What did you think of the crisis Noah had when he looked at all of the prisoners waiting for trial, and he didn't know which group to sit with? I thought that section was so interesting because Noah is so adept at explaining his thought process about every decision. He had to think so hard about what group would accept him, and it was so helpful to hear his thoughts since they helped me understand the nuances of race in South Africa. I was glad that he had someone there who was willing to tell him that he needed to do whatever possible to not go to jail. I can't even imagine how his life would be now if the judge had not let him go. Were you surprised that his mother was behind the bail money and the lawyer? I was a little surprised. I guess I should have figured that she would know what was going on with him, but I didn't.
The Abel parts were incredibly hard to read. It was heartbreaking the way he treated Noah's mother, but it was extra heartbreaking to hear how authorities didn't believe her or take her seriously when she tried to report the abuse. I can't imagine how powerless she felt. It was really sad reading about their car garage, too, and how it sapped all of his mom's money. I couldn't believe they had to eat caterpillars. I hated reading about how Abel treated Noah, too. I can't imagine how stressful life was, having to always keep an eye on Abel and his moods.
What did you think when Noah's mother was shot? I was convinced that she was going to die. Can you believe how miraculous that whole situation was? The bullet trajectory was so perfect, and the fact that Abel's gun misfired so many times. She was so incredibly lucky.
I think the saddest thing was finding out at the end that Abel didn't have to pay for the shooting at all. I can't believe he was able to get out of jail so quickly and was able to stay in the area. I wonder if Noah's mother is ever afraid about running into him now.
So, what did you think of the book as a whole? I really enjoyed it, and I really enjoyed how it helped me learn more about race and Apartheid. It definitely helped me look at Trevor Noah as more than just a television persona. Through this book, he became a real person to me. Did you enjoy that aspect of the book? What did you appreciate the most in his descriptions of race? Do you have any take-aways from the book?
Before you go, if you're interested in actually hearing Trevor Noah talk about his experiences, and if you'd like to see some photographs that weren't released in the book, check out the video below.
And, if you enjoyed this title and would like to read some similar books, check out this list I created. Let me know if you check out anything on the list!
Thanks for joining us this month! I hope you'll read with us again next month as we read The Golden Compass.