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BOOK CLUB BEAT with Sherry Hemingway Born A Crime…an autobiography Author Trevor Noah T revor Noah’s autobiography, “Born a Crime,” is a superb read, even for people who have no clue who he is. This New York Times #1 best seller is a compelling tale of shock, awe and wit about a mixed-race boy coming of age, both during and in the chaotic period after Apartheid in South Africa. For anyone who is not acquainted with Trevor Noah, he’s the young South African comedian who leapt to fame in 2012 with an appearance on Jay Leno’s Tonight show, and then in 2015 replaced host Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show,” Comedy Central’s talk/news/sat- ire program. None of that is covered in this book. Trevor’s early life is told in anecdotal stories interwoven with an astute analysis of Apartheid’s means of preserving power for a white ruling class in a black land. Trevor was born to a fiercely independent black woman of the Xhosa tribe and a white Swiss/ German expat. Trevor’s very existence as a “colored” child was a punishable crime. The family’s relationships were so secret that for mother and son to go out in public, Trevor had to walk with a colored neighbor while his mother lagged behind as a friend or would-be servant. (Only Trevor Noah could make this hilarious.) Interactions with his white father, who lived nearby, were only behind closed doors. To do otherwise courted immediate police arrest. While the details of living under Apartheid are shocking, the real story of Trevor is that of a savvy survivor who learned to utilize humor and pirated CDs to navigate various racial groups, none of whom completely accepted him. His personal rock was his iron- willed mother, who refused the custom of bowing to men. While other women curtsied, Trevor’s mother would go down and cower, staying long enough to make everyone very uncomfortable. He loved it. She persevered in getting Trevor a quality education in white schools, where they would accept a few token black kids on scholarship, but where Trevor had to forge his own brand of acceptance. This is one of those books that one might not find without a book club, and it is also one that gives book clubs a great deal to think and talk about. Even if you’ve never heard of Trevor Noah, try giving this book a shot. SHERRY HEMINGWAY spent her child- hood after lights out with a book and flashlight under the covers. With degrees from Kent State University and Harvard University, her lifelong career was in journalism and public rela- tions. Her hobbies are travel in (very) remote countries, volunteering, and two book clubs. Meet the Morgan Hill Library’s “After Dinner Book Group” Members include (front row, l to r) Angela Coscarelli, Beverly Vessa, Marie Lamb, and (back row) Karen Leavitt, Kathryn Deboo, Librarian Jeff Grubb, Mary Ringo and Kathi Roster. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 A book club that is open to the public and loans book selections for free can be found meeting monthly as the Morgan Hill Library’s “After Dinner Book Club Group.” Historically, this club was known as “Books with Dessert” until the county health department took excep- tion to home baked goods in a public space. Discussions are held at 7:30 p.m. on the last Tuesday of the month at the Morgan Hill Library. Their recent classic read was “Catcher in the Rye.” Up ahead, in September, the book is “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen, and October is “Salvage the Bones” by Jesmyn Ward. gmhtoday.com 101