Long Walk to Freedom – a review

This is a big book, as in 700+ pages in paperback big. So I wasn’t expecting to finish it any time soon and was actually taking it pretty slowly, reading it in small chunks…

I read 500+ pages of it in one evening cause I couldn’t put the damn thing down!


This was gifted to me by the wonderful Kari from Kari-ng for books, and we both thought that I wouldn’t be starting or finishing it any time soon. But I was making good progress with War and Peace and I thought why not keep plodding my way through another big book reading sections at a time? So I did, I started doing that around November 2020. But in the beginning of March 2021 I read a few chapters during work. And then a few more just after work. And then when I looked up it was 11pm and I had finished the entire book!

If you couldn’t tell from the accidental 500 pages of reading, Mandela has a really accessible writing style that I personally really enjoyed. There were also, of course, so many interesting life events throughout this book that kept me interested. Seeing his young life and how as a young man he struggled to make a place for himself within an Apartheid world, and how this then developed into activism and fighting back against the oppression.

This was such an interesting read. I learnt so much about South Africa, about Mandela himself, and about how the rest of the world reacted to the oppression that was so blatant within South Africa. This is an incredible book and I’m so glad that I picked it up!

I did use CAWPILE on this book and got a rating, but the system isn’t designed for non-fiction books so take it with a grain of salt:

  • characters: 10
  • atmosphere: 8
  • writing: 9
  • plot: 9
  • logic: 9
  • enjoyment: 9

Totalling 9.00 meaning I rated this book 5*s! I know it’s a big one, and that bigger books can be intimidating, but I really do recommend giving this book a go. I promise it’s more readable than you think!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: violence against women and children, racial triggers

Born a Crime – a review

The wonderful Olivia-Savanah from Olivia’s Catastrophe gifted me Born a Crime, she read it and really enjoyed it and thought that I would too. And she was right!! I loved this book and my copy has got so many tabs!

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I’ve not specifically sat and watched any of Noah’s comedy, but what I have seen has always made me laugh, and I was really looking forward to getting an insight into life as a “Coloured” person in South Africa so I had high hopes for this memoir which spans all of his childhood after being born to a white Swiss father and a Black Xhosa mother, at a time where relationships between Black and white people was illegal.

As always I’ll start with my negative, which in this case is that the timeline of the book jumps around quite a lot. The events which it jumps to are related, but we do go back and forth with at least one event being repeated. This does mean the book feels a little disjointed and it takes away from the natural flow. That was what brought this book down to a 4 star rather than a 5, but other than that? This was an amazing book.

My tabs can be broken down into basics:

  • Funny
  • Sad
  • Learning
  • interesting

The funny is self explanatory, Trevor Noah is a comedian and this of course bleeds through into this book. He’s lived through some very funny moments and gotten up to a lot of antics as a kid which were fun and cringy to read about! Even just the reactions of himself or those around him in mundane points of life was a lot of fun to read about. And going to three different churches every Sunday rain or shine? Well of course I loved reading about mama Noah!

There were some sad points in this book, as there are in almost everyone’s lives. There weren’t too many here, but the ones that were there were poignant and heartfelt. Given that I was tabbing up the book anyways it felt wrong to leave these sections unmarked as they made me stop and reflect.

Whilst I had learnt about apartheid in school, as many of us do, the technicalities of the overarching laws and regulations doesn’t exactly tell you what it was like living within the country at the time. For example, Trevor’s mother and father having a relationship was fully illegal, and yet here he is. Whenever there are laws there will be people who break them, and sometimes that’s a good thing! It was really interesting to learn those intricate facts about daily life growing up during this time.

The “interesting” tabs came about because there were points that I already knew, but that I really enjoyed the way he worded them and which made me think about things in a new light. I almost put them into the “learning” section but it didn’t feel quite right, so instead this category was born.

I also, accidentally, was reading Long Walk to Freedom at the same time as I was reading this (I’d been reading it for a few months already, it’s a big boi). Somehow I had a section where the two lined up, I read a chapter from Born a Crime about the destruction of Sophiatown and how this directly impacted Trevor. I decided I wanted to read a chapter from Long Walk to Freedom and what would you know? Sophiatown was being destroyed! I wasn’t very far into Mandela’s biography so I hadn’t been expecting the two to line up at that moment in time and it was a little surreal. It also, for me, added an extra layer to how I was think about these events because I had the perception of both a political activist and a child. And those two together? They’re powerful.

Honestly this book is fantastic, and I think even those who don’t usually read non-fiction or memoirs will enjoy this book as well as getting a lot out of it! Not only is there important commentary on race, both in South Africa and around the globe, but it’s humorous, insightful and just a fun time to read!

Highlight here for trigger warnings: domestic abuse, racial slurs, racism, violence

Thank you so so much to Olivia for gifting me this! I adored it and I’m sure I’ll be re-reading it in the future!

First Lines Friday #16

It’s time for another First Lines Friday! Hosted by Wandering Words!! Why do these keep scheduling on big dates?! Again! This one was scheduled in November just like the last one so leave me be hahaha!

What if, instead of judging a book by its cover or its author, we judged the book by its opening lines?

Here is how it works:

– Pick a book and open to the first page.

– Copy the first few lines without revealing which book it is.

– Reveal the book!

So… do these first lines entice you?

The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate, is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all.

Scroll down to reveal the book!

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Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

A short one this week, but an impactful one all the same! This was gifted to me by the wonderful Olivia from Olivia’s Catastrophe and I can’t wait to read it. I just know I’m going to zip through it and struggle to put it down! I want to get more into Trevor Noah’s comedy works as the little I’ve seen of him I’ve really enjoyed. I’m anticipating that humour coming through in this book too.