Book Review: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick


Just beautiful. In The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, the main character, Arthur, has to deal with the loss of his wife and learn how to build a life without her. One year after his beloved Miriam has passed away, Arthur finds a charm bracelet left behind by his wife and sets out on a journey of discovery to find out who his wife really was and ends up finding out who he is in the process. Fans of A Man Called Ove will love this book, even though Arthur is a very different character. This book is a perfect read when you have no idea what you feel like reading. Arthur will work his way into your heart, make you laugh, make you cry, and leave you joyful about this beautiful life.–Christina Knowles

Book Review: Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Tales of a South African Childhood

Trevor NoahThis book was absolutely wonderful! This is quite likely the best memoir I’ve ever read (Well, actually, I listened to it.). Trevor Noah narrates and uses all his repertoire of voices and accents his fans are familiar with on The Daily Show. There are laugh-out-loud moments, for sure, but what surprised me was the depth and vulnerability present in this memoir. Noah bares his soul and shows us the truth of growing up biracial, a crime, in apartheid South Africa. He paints a beautiful, but honest, picture of a strong, loving, and somewhat eccentric African mother, an aloof, yet caring, Swiss-German father, a complicated and abusive step-father, and a colorful portrait of his other friends and family members.

Some of Noah’s experiences shocked me. He seems too well-adjusted and happy to have gone through so much, but I think he makes it clear that his mother is primarily responsible for that, along with a pretty peaceful temperament and a good head on his shoulders.

This memoir is a must-read, though, not because it is funny, sweet, honest, and poignant, which it is, but because it gives a first person account of the effects of apartheid, racism and caste systems in general, and some of the issues that all poor people face, and minorities in particular. He discusses phenomena such “paying the black tax” and the code of ethics in the “hood” with the benefit of thoughtful hindsight and sheds light on issues of poverty, racism, and crime in America as well.

This memoir is highly engaging, and I was sad to have it end. Noah left me anxious to hear more about his life and to find out more about how he achieved his current success, even though it is clear he was on the path to it when this book ends. I highly recommend this book. Trust me; you’ll love it!–Christina Knowles


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