Our recommendation for your holidays

The summer holidays are about to start and you still don’t have an idea which book to read? We read two novels in the past weeks but see for yourselves which one might be your cup of tea. Here you can find two book reviews each for the novels “Ghost“ by Jason Reynolds and “Born A Crime“ by Trevor Noah. Enjoy reading and your summer holidays!

 

Born a Crime:

Stories from a South African Childhood“ is the autobiography of The Daily Show host Trevor Noah. The story follows Trevor’s life as a child in South Africa during Apartheid and how he overcame many difficulties while growing up with an abusive stepfather and the issues he had as a mixed-race child.

He comments on themes like colonialism, racism, abuse and privilege and manages to make the completely different world he lived in relatable to the readers: A world in which interracial relationships were not allowed and Trevor could not be seen with his mother in public. As the son of a black mother and a white father he literally was “Born a Crime“.

Trevor explains how he gained certain advantages because of his lighter skin but also shares his experience on how he was rejected by others because he wasn’t “dark/ white enough“.

When Apartheid finally ended, he was still considered an outsider. He had to slip between racial barriers and try to fit in.

The book allows the reader to see the parallels between Apartheid back then and the events of racial terror today. Trevor manages to educate the reader about these “dark“ topics but lightens up the mood through the use of comedy and more fun stories from his childhood throughout the book.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I recommend it to everyone who is a fan of Trevor Noah or people who want to learn about life in South America during Apartheid and the struggles most of the people there had to face every day.

 Sophie

 

„I was born a crime.“

This sentence accompanied Trevor Noah throughout his childhood. In his book, Trevor Noah talks about his childhood as a coloured child in South Africa under apartheid. The book gives a good insight into Trevor’s life during and after apartheid. He tells about his life as a toddler and life at school. He tells how he deals with discrimination and racism and how he copes with it as an outsider.

However, this does not prevent him from living his life as best as he can. In his book „Born a Crime“ Trevor Noah tells us how he copes with his childhood under apartheid.

Trevor Noah was born to a black mother and a white father so he was born as a “coloured“ child during apartheid in South Africa. During this time, however, this was illegal and he was treated differently and unfairly because of his skin colour.

Apartheid, discrimination and racism play a very important role in the book. Through apartheid legislation the relationship between black and white was finally forbidden and at that time Noah’s existence was a crime. He was restricted and was not allowed to do many things. For example he had to hide from the police and was only allowed to play in the backyard and not on the street like the other children.

Each chapter begins with a foreword that deals with the historic context of the events in general.

The special thing about the book is that Trevor Noah tells his true story, which is on the one hand extraordinary and terrible, but on the other hand funny and humorous.

 

The book offers the true, sad and shocking story of Trevor Noah. It contains very important topics, some of which are still present today. The funny and humorous, but also serious writing style of Trevor makes the book even more exciting and better to read. It is a good and meaningful book. Furthermore, the short prefaces before each chapter are also a good aspect because they describe the context to the chapter.

The book offers suspense, variety, sadness, seriousness and a shattering look into one of the darkest hour in Africa.

I think you should read it because it is a very expressive book. The readers will appreciate it afterwards, as many of them offer deep insights into the life of a “coloured“ child in South Africa under apartheid.

Lucy

Ghost:

The book „Ghost“, written by Jason Reynolds, is about a boy named Castle Cranshaw (also called Ghost) who suffered a family tragedy. One day his dad had a “breakdown” and was trying to shoot at Castle and his mum. Luckily, they ran away and his dad was caught by the police and was put in prison.

His mum is working at a cafeteria in a hospital and at the same time she is trying hard to get her nursing degree so they can move out of the house which is full of terrible memories. He cannot afford buying “cool” clothes and getting fresh haircuts that is why he is being laughed at, teased and bullied in school. He had to go through a lot but everything changes when he joins Coach Brody’s track team: The „Defenders“ are one of the best track teams in the city.

A very strong side of the book is that it builds up tension very well. However, one weak side is that the whole content of the book is very “mainstream”  – there are many books out there whose plots sound very similar. The most special about the book is the way Ghost is presented: A very nice young man though not easily likeable from the first moment and some people might even identify themselves with Ghost.

I think that this is a very good book to read in school because the message behind the book is very heartwarming and can also be used educationally as an anti-bullying discussion in class.

I have very much enjoyed reading the book because every time I wanted to stop reading, I couldn’t because of the way tension is built up and I can tell if I like a book when I sit there  with tears in my eyes reading the book.

I would very much recommend this book to you if you like those kind of genres even though some people might find it very “mainstream”.

Niko

 

The book “Ghost” is about a boy called Castle Cranshaw but he named himself Ghost. He started running when his father tried to shoot him and his mother with a gun, which is why his father is in jail. He lives in a shabby neighbourhood called Glass Manor with his mother and they don’t have that much money for things like clothes, a haircut or good food. Ghost causes a lot of trouble in school and he often gets into fights, mainly because he is being bullied because of his clothes and smell. One day he goes to the track, where he runs against one member of the track team called “the Defenders”. Afterwards the Coach talks to him and convinces him to join the team.

What I liked about the book is that all the characters are authentic and unlike other books, the main character isn’t “perfect”. It also mentions some conflicts that exist in real life, so you can relate to the characters even more. What I didn’t like was that the author went into too much detail with things that seemed somehow unnecessary to me. I also didn’t like Ghost himself because he doesn’t seem like a very nice person to me. He keeps telling people how great he is and judges others just by their looks. Also, I imagined the end to be very different.

I think the book deals with important topics, like bullying, but it doesn’t really help to solve the conflicts, which is why I think you could read it in school, but you don’t necessarily have to.

At some points I enjoyed reading the book, but it never gripped me and made me want to keep reading. My main problem was (as I said before) that there were too many details, which made it a bit tiring to read. I think it was nice to read it, but I wouldn’t do it again.

I wouldn’t recommend the book to everyone, just to people I know will like the book. All in all, I think there are better books to read in your free time.

Lela