Thursday, December 29, 2016

Born A Crime

Most of you know Trevor Noah as the new host and late night comedian of The Daily Show. His fabulous new memoir called Born A Crime shares his life growing up in South Africa. A wonderful storyteller, I was mesmerized by his incredible intelligence, good humor, kind heart and loving and fascinating relationship with his mother. Trevor shares his childhood through different scenarios of what it was like to grow up in Johannesburg, spending much of his earliest years inside, as it was a crime to have a black mother and white father. He shared an intermittent but not unkind closeness with his Dutch father and never stopped searching for the place to be himself. Since his lighter skin made it tough for him to fit in with most communities, he quickly learned that common language helped put people at ease. Trevor became fluent in quite a few. Most stories are from Trevor’s earlier years ending with him in his twenties; Deejaying, hosting radio shows, stand-up comedy shows etc, the very beginning of his career. The reader gets a glimpse of the the Trevor you enjoy on t.v. today but honestly, I just cannot wrap my head around this feisty kid that at times barely had enough to eat, endured an abusive stepfather and oftentimes slept in the back seat of a car – with the public, funny man we see today. Just brilliant. No matter how tough times became Trevor kept his spirits high, his sense of humor -always - and his devotion to his mother, everlasting. Highly recommend this fabulous read.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Goodbye Year

Melanie has a slacker senior son who is adorable but lost. On her way to being an empty nester she smothers him in unwanted attention for his own good but completely misses the mark of who he actually wants to be. Beyond wealthy Sarah idolizes her perfect Ashley who got into Harvard ED, while her husband’s secrets destroy their family and Will and his wife are fine as long as his affair with Lauren continues and his controlling, OCD, vice principal wife runs the ship. In this small enclave in one of California’s wealthiest neighborhoods, call it “The Housewives with Highschool Seniors,” these pretty horrible people learn just how horrible they really are. I love a good satire of parenting but this was too over the top ridiculous and the simplistic writing and predictable storyline just didn’t grab my attention. May be a case of “it’s not you it’s me” but either way just not my cup of tea.


Karen Kessler is a working mom in Brooklyn. She runs a non-profit, as does her husband. She deals with hunger, he with housing. Ruby their daughter is in elementary school and typifies that cute but spoiled winey voice that starts very young but the guilt ridden parents can’t quite squash it. They live in a hip neighborhood with an integrated school that thrilled them. At first. When a few behavior issues arise with children that may not have the supervision they need at home, Karen too quickly doubts her choices and second guesses her decision to live this bohemian life outside of the pricey private schools. With every parent she meets that switches to the less integrated version, Karen’s underlying jealousy lifts its ugly head. Deep deep down inside (it’s called the “truth”) Karen thinks she is not willing to sacrifice Ruby’s academic future or well-being socially to prove a point she is not even sure she is making anymore. At the same time this fortyish woman is questioning her relationship with her husband whom she is having a hard time identifying his good qualities. She is unquestioningly attracted to an old college friend’s success that she should not meet for another drink under the pretense he may be a donor to her non-profit. This fast paced, terrific story has one main underlying theme: Are we living as our true selves or who we would “like” that true self to be and is there a difference? Highly recommend this excellent read and look forward to more works by Lucinda Rosenfeld.