In my opinion, the good books are the ones that engage you while you’re reading them. They might make you laugh out loud, or feel grief, or rile you up till there’s steam coming from your ears; they elicit visceral emotional responses. You can’t put these books down, because you can only do that if you’re still here, but you’re not. You’re in the author’s world right now. Noah manages this with ease. This book is about his childhood in South Africe, and you experience studying in an integrated school, playing in parks, hustling for money, trying (and failing) to get dates, avoiding the ire of his mother, DJ-ing at parties, shoplifting and hustling some more. Its a hilarious roller-coaster ride that you don’t want to get off of.
But the best books are the ones that can do that, but also make you think. They’ve shown you a facets of the world that you were unaware of, ideas you were unfamiliar with, perspectives that you hadn’t thought of. You wonder why you hadn’t thought about these things, and now that you know about it, you ponder the implications. Noah succeeds here as well, I think. What he says about money, race relations, privilege, crime and life choices provide a lot of food for thought. This book is littered with profound quotes that I’ve highlighted and reread twice.
So, the question really isn’t “should I read this book?”, it’s “should I read the book or listen to the audiobook?” I chose the former because it was £3 vs £25, but considering Noah’s talents as a comedian, that might be £25 well spent.