Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I am Princess X by Cherie Priest

May and Libby become best friends in fifth grade.  They invent a fictional character they name Princess X and spend hours writing and drawing stories about her.  Tragedy strikes a few years later when Libby drowns.  May’s parents get a divorce.  She and her mom move out of state.  Every summer May travels back to stay with her dad.  The year she is sixteen, she finds a sticker with a picture of Princess X.  How could it even be possible?  She investigates and finds a website with the stories she helped write, along with new ones.  Did someone find their old notebooks or could Libby be alive?  May meets some new friends and they follow the clues in the Princess X stories. 

Reviewed by Fiona Swift

Monday, December 5, 2016

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Image result for born a crime

South African comedian Trevor Noah was largely unknown when he was tapped to succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show in 2015. Instead of talking about showbiz in his first memoir, he focuses on his formative years under Apartheid and life with his indomitable mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah.

Parts of Noah’s memoir are tremendously funny. (The future humorist had the gift of smart talk and knack for trouble at an early age.) But the title of this book reflects its serious undercurrents. Under the laws of South Africa when he was born, Noah’s existence was literally proof of a crime. His skin color was too different from either his black mother or white father for either one of them to acknowledge him in public. If the authorities had suspected their true relationship, his parents would have been arrested and Noah taken into state custody. In his teen years, the country moved towards racial integration, but finding his way out of generational poverty wasn’t easy. This book is a great choice for anyone who wants a better understanding of Noah’s perspective as a comedian. Having grown up under a police state certainly informs the way he makes fun of politics in America today.

Reviewed by Lynn Heitkamp