Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

born a crime

5 out of 5

what i liked

I listened to this on audiobook after I was gifted it by a friend. Man am I glad that I listened to it! I think reading this book would also be great, but Trevor Noah does read this audiobook and it is so good.
This book is titled Born A Crime because Trevor is born of mixed races in South Africa during the apartheid. So his birth was literally a crime. His insight into living during this time period was incredibly interesting! I didn’t know very much about the apartheid other than referencing Nelson Mandela and his prison time. I feel like I know quite a bit more now, but I’m still interested in learning more.
Trevor grew up in South Africa and has since moved to the states. He references just how different his life was from the typical life here in the States. It was all just really eye opening. (Let me preface that I have been to Africa- a few countries in southern Africa, so I did have a good frame of reference from how different their lives are from my own.) There is just a huge power in hearing someone’s personal story and how much that can show you about the world.
I loved hearing stories about Trevor’s mom, and his extended family. His intense and alcoholic step dad. All of the scenes that he describes are written so well, and they feel so real while you’re listening.
He’s a strong writer, in fact, part way through the book I actually forgot he was a comedian/celebrity. It just seemed like a regular memoir.
Fun fact, this book as been optioned to become a movie starring Lupita Nyong’o as Trevor’s mom! I can’t wait to watch it!
Pick this book up, (and on audio!) you won’t regret it!
This book is REQUIRED READING for memoir lovers!

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This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Philipps

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official blurb
Busy Philipps’s autobiographical book offers the same unfiltered and candid storytelling that her Instagram followers have come to know and love, from growing up in Scottsdale, Arizona and her painful and painfully funny teen years, to her life as a working actress, mother, and famous best friend. Busy is the rare entertainer whose impressive arsenal of talents as an actress is equally matched by her storytelling ability, sense of humor, and sharp observations about life, love, and motherhood. Her conversational writing reminds us what we love about her on screens large and small. From film to television to Instagram, Busy delightfully showcases her wry humor and her willingness to bare it all. I’ve been waiting my whole life to write this book. I’m just so grateful someone asked. Otherwise, what was the point of any of it?

my blurb!
A memoir from a used-to-be actor turned late night host.
Trigger warning: Rape, physical altercations, abortion.

1.75 out of 5

This book started out really strong for me. I actually listened to it on audiobook and was very much enjoying it, but the audio expired from my library. I went back on hold and then listened to the rest of the book.  I say this because I have a long list of things I didn’t like about the book.  But for the first 1/3 of the book or so, I would have recommended this!  Also, for a confession- I have NEVER seen Freaks and Geeks- which I know was her initial claim to fame.

what i liked
Busy talks about her sister Lianne, and I was very intrigued by her sister.  I really liked all of the sections that mentioned her.
Busy says at one point that what drives her is a hole that needs to be filled, always trying to get to the next thing.  I found this so incredibly sad, and vulnerable.  It was this aspect of her writing that I really enjoyed.  She tried to identify her behaviors and was putting it all out there for you to read/listen to.
I loved the real world look into the acting world!  She mentions that at one point she auditioned NINETY times before getting a role.  This wasn’t auditioning for the same role 90 times, this was going on 90 different auditions before finally getting a part.
There were a lot of throwback memories for me.  She had a long term relationship with Tom Hanks’ son, Colin. And Colin starred in Roswell.  Remember Roswell?! I had totally forgotten about it!
She gives you some solid celebrity gossip.  Here’s some tidbits that I wrote down:  Busy and Colin Hanks both cheated on their back-home significant others in college and then got together.  Kristin Chenoweth potentially turned down a role in Rent for religious reasons.  James Franco was annoying, intimidating, selfish, a bully and a prick.  I mean, honestly the stories about James were AWFUL.  If he hadn’t already fallen from grace during the #metoo movement, he would have simply because of this book.

what i didn't like
She reads her own audiobook so you get a really good idea of exactly the way she would like to come across in the book.
Wow her voice is annoying.  That may be harsh, but I am a California girl- and some would say a valley girl (you should hear my husbands impressions of me!) – and to ME her voice is annoying.  Which is saying something.
She cheats on multiple boyfriends throughout this book. Like every single boyfriend.  When she is finally dating her husband, he is written of poorly. So poorly that when you finish the book you actually google if they’re still married.  (FYI- they’re still married).  She uses the excuse that she is really bad at quitting things, to explain why she keeps cheating on her boyfriends.  I hated this so much.  I can’t tell you how much I got tired of hearing her cheat on her boyfriends!
You know when you watch a teen drama and the kids are having sex, drinking, and doing drugs and you say to yourself, “Who does this?! Hollywood is so out of touch with reality…”  This was Busy’s actual life.
She is cocky.  Now I know that a lot of you will read that, and say that it’s confidence and it’s needed in the industry.  I will counter and say I know people in the industry and they’re not cocky. Busy is cocky.  And real talk- cockiness is one of my least favorite things in the world.
She has quite the potty mouth- this book is NSFW (not safe for work). At all.  Headphones ARE required while listening to this.
Oh my gosh, I almost forgot to mention this next part!  Busy is best friends with Michelle Williams (who sounds like a total sweetheart btw), and she was around Michelle during her whole Heath Ledger relationship.  She talks about his death (a little) and how she comforted Michelle.  She talks about a friend from high school who had a boyfriend die and how she comforted him.  She talks about comforting her husband, Mark, as he dealt with a death.  She then mentions how she’s always been there for people in these times and how she is good at it!  I’m sorry, what?!   Ya… she is as annoying and out of touch as that breakdown made her sound.
At the end of the book she goes into why she decided that she would make an awesome late night host.  She specifically mentions that she will host the tonight show.  I was walking around Costco while I was listening to this part and I literally said out loud, “Over my dead body!”  I know, what an insanely strong reaction!  I should mention that I love Jimmy Fallon. And in fact, my 30th birthday party was a Tonight Show themed party.  I had such an awful taste of Busy in my mouth by this point in the book that the idea of her taking over for Jimmy Fallon made me mad!
So here is the crux of the issue with the whole book.  I don’t know if I’ve ever read a memoir or autobiography from someone (who I basically had no opinion of prior to reading the book), and finished it really disliking the person in the end!  In fact, I have read plenty of political memoirs, where I’ve actually disliked the author prior to reading the book, and then finished it loving them!  Busy became so incredibly unlikable to me that I immediately removed her late night talk show from my DVR.  In fact, I thought about ranking this book one star, but I really did enjoy the first 25%- 33% of this book, so 1.75 stars it is! haha.

while reading you should
Stop.  That’s it. You need to stop reading this book and burn it.

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Books They Tell You to Read: Memoirs, Biographies, and Autobiographies

Here, in no particular order, are the memoirs, biographies, and autobiographies They tell you to read:

  • The Glass Castle–Jeannette Walls
  • The Story of My Life–Hellen Keller
  • Negroland: A Memoir–Margo Jefferson
  • What Comes Next and How To Like It–Abigail Thomas
  • The Story of My Experiments with Truth–Mahatma Gandhi
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X–Malcolm X
  • Eat, Pray, Love–Elizabeth Gilbert

Continue reading “Books They Tell You to Read: Memoirs, Biographies, and Autobiographies”