Born a Crime 15-end: read-along at Book Bloggers International

born-a-crime

Born a Crime:
chapters 15-end
read-along at
Book Bloggers International

And here we are already at the end of the read-along:

1. Did you like the book? What were some of your favorite passages or chapters?

I liked a lot the book. I don’t think I had read anything in depth about life during and after the apartheid, with concrete details on daily life and all the issues involved, so this was a real eye-opener.
I definitely loved the style of the book, with lots of humor, but also some good slaps in the face as for culture differences and things we allow in our society today.
What interested me more personally were all the passages related to language, how Trevor maneuvered thanks to his knowledge of so many languages, how it allowed him to be accepted by different groups, and also the deep connection between language and identity.

2. In Part III, the book’s chapters get longer, and darker, as Noah goes from being a teenager to a young man. What struck you most about these chapters? Would you call the book a coming of age story?

It all depends what you call a “coming of age story“. In an American context, this expression is often quite mild, about usual teen stuff and first look into the world of work and adults.
Trevor grew up more quickly than most of kids here, he started to work very young as well, before being a teen.
In part 3, he discovers more ugly parts of the adult world, like abuse of women at home, alcoholism, crimes, prison, injustice.
It is a coming of age story in the sense that he realizes he can take a stand towards these issues and part from them, for instance when he realizes his petty crimes do affect real people, he decides to stop. Also when he decides to leave home, not agreeing with his mother’s reaction face to abuse.

3. In Chapter 16, “The Cheese Boys,” Noah writes,

…crime succeeds because crime does the one thing the government doesn’t do: crime cares. Crime is grassroots. Crime looks for the young kids who need support and a lifting hand. Crime offers internship programs and summer jobs and opportunities for advancement. Crime gets involved in the community. Crime doesn’t discriminate.

What do you think Noah meant by this and do you agree?

The context is extremely important. In Trevor’s context when he writes this, with the examples he gives, yes, I agree. But this no longer works taken out of context. For instance this would not apply to gang crimes in Chicago…

4. In “My Mother’s Life,” Noah says children have to learn how to love their parents unconditionally and that it’s not automatic or instinctive. Do you agree with this statement?

I personally agree, I have not experienced love of parents as something automatic or instinctive either, but again, I assume it all depends on the context you grew up and were raised.

5. Do you watch The Daily Show? If you do, has reading the book changed how you see Noah in any way?

I do not have TV. The person who presented this book in my book club and made me want to read it talked about The Daily Show. So I watched one episode on YouTube to see what they were talking about, but I was not impressed at all. I didn’t think his humor there was smart. It’s so much better in the book.

6. Are you left with any unanswered questions you’re wondering about?

I was hoping to get more details about why he left his country to live in the US! It seems so much different than the context he grew up in. There are some elements of answer in the last chapter, but still, there’s a huge difference between deciding to live his own life, away from his mother’s context, and deciding to come and work in the TV American world! But maybe that will be another book!

I would have hoped that someone that smart, who got to know so well all the different groups and issues of his country, would have used his talents to help improve the social situation of his country.
I wonder what his Mom thinks about his current work.

7. Anything else that caught your attention or you want to discuss?

There are some other major topics in the last part:

  • the bad job we do when we say we want to help others – in Africa or even in our own society: like he said, you can teach someone how to fish, but if you don’t give them the basic tool, a fishing rod, to start with, what’s the point? Just to satisfy your own conscience, at best

  • the awful job done by Colonials in the world of education – for instance, they had no idea who Hitler really was and so gave this name as a normal European first name. So sad in the first place that we pushed them to adopt some European first names, but they already had beautiful first names, so much more meaningful that many modern names that no longer mean anything

  • how your relationships with others change when you get to a one on one connection, and see someone’s face. Trevor realized this while dealing with a stolen camera, and saw the faces of the people who had lost their precious souvenirs. We can apply this to many things, for instance law making, or general statements we sometimes make, until we meet someone who is in that very situation.

  • police corruption and unfairness, how they were always taking the side of the abusive violent husband in the book, instead of the victim.

  • how faith can have some very concrete results! (chapter 18)

VERDICT: If you know nothing about South Africa, I highly recommend this book. An easy read, with lots of humor, but that goes right to the heart of things, with amazing concrete examples of a feisty mother and how she raised her children.

Eiffel Tower Orange

 

If you want to see my comments on the other chapters, please check:

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giveaway winner: Pigeon-Blood Red

Pigeon-red blood winnerwon a copy of

Pigeon-Blood Red

PIGEON-BLOOD RED

Pigeon-Blood Red
is a new crime thriller novel
by Ed Duncan.
It is available for sale
on Amazon,
published by Zharmae.

Genres:
Crime / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Synopsis

For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

 

Praise for Pigeon-Blood Red

“Fast-paced and full of surprises. Will keep you on the edge of your seat!”Amazon Customer

“Pigeon Blood Red has a dramatic and satisfying conclusion, leaving the reader nodding his head with approval.” – Readers’ Favorite

“In a novel with as much action as love, it is sure to be a story that will fulfill the desires of readers of all ages, genders, and areas of interest.”Red City Review

 

About the Author

 

ED-DUNCAN

Ed is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He is the original author of a highly regarded legal treatise entitled “Ohio Insurance Coverage,” for which he provided annual editions from 2008 through 2012.

Ed currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH. He is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. To learn more, go to EDuncan.net.

Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Ed Duncan, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027

Spotlight, guest-post, and giveaway: Pigeon-Blood Red

Pigeon-Blood Red

PIGEON-BLOOD RED

Pigeon-Blood Red
is a new crime thriller novel
by Ed Duncan.
It is available for sale
on Amazon,
published by Zharmae.

Genres:
Crime / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

Synopsis

For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

 

Praise for Pigeon-Blood Red

“Fast-paced and full of surprises. Will keep you on the edge of your seat!”Amazon Customer

“Pigeon Blood Red has a dramatic and satisfying conclusion, leaving the reader nodding his head with approval.” – Readers’ Favorite

“In a novel with as much action as love, it is sure to be a story that will fulfill the desires of readers of all ages, genders, and areas of interest.”Red City Review

SPOTLIGHT

Someone once said, “Inside every lawyer is a writer trying to get out.” That is an exaggeration, of course, but maybe only a slight one. A few hugely successful writers who started out as lawyers and who readily come to mind are: John Grisham, James Patterson, David Baldacci, Steve Berry, and Scott Turow (who, last I heard, still practices). And believe me, that list only scratches the surface.

At any given moment there are numerous current and former lawyers who are trying their hand at becoming published writers. I know because until February 25 of this year I was one of them. On that date my first novel, Pigeon-Blood Red, was published by a small West Coast company, The Zharmae Publishing Press.

For 37 years I was a practicing trial lawyer with a national law firm based in Cleveland. In addition to an occasional trial, I wrote reams of briefs and opinion letters. I specialized in something called “insurance coverage,” which in general meant it was my job to evaluate whether or not a particular accident or loss was or was not covered by an insurance policy. In 2008 I wrote a legal text called “Ohio Insurance Coverage,” but I didn’t count that text as fulfilling my quest to become a published author, since it isn’t fiction, and what I really wanted to do was to write fiction, especially crime fiction.

So on July 1, 2012 I retired to do just that. I had wanted to write since high school, but I was seriously bitten by the writing bug sometime in the late 1970’s. Around that time I joined a book club and bought a number of classics in various genres. One was called, “The Novels of Dashiell Hammett.” I hadn’t heard of Hammett and I’m not sure what attracted me to him, but I started reading The Maltese Falcon, his best known novel, and became fascinated by it, especially the riveting, realistic dialogue. If you haven’t seen the movie version, try to catch it. Much of the dialogue is taken verbatim from the novel, which is one of the reasons it has become a classic. (There were actually three movie versions of the novel: the 1931 version, a 1936 version in which the title was changed to Satan Met a Lady, and the 1941 classic starring Humphrey Bogart as the iconic private eye Sam Spade).

I resisted the urge to write something myself until the late 1990’s when the novelist inside me finally broke out. I was attending a legal seminar in Honolulu when one evening the germ of an idea came to me. I had a vision of a woman traveling in Honolulu and carrying something valuable that bad people — dangerous people — were trying to get their hands on and I saw a lawyer coming to her rescue. Making the hero a lawyer was easy because, after all, that’s what I was. But I had to flesh out the rest of the plot, which took a while.

I worked on the novel sporadically after work during the week and on weekends over the next several months. After setting it aside for months on end when I was too busy at work to concentrate on it, I finally finished it. Over the years came character and plot changes, drafts and re-drafts, attendance at writers’ conferences, many submissions to agents, and many rejections. Then the title, originally Murder in Paradise, became the much more evocative Pigeon-Blood Red.

I didn’t realize until after the novel was written, except perhaps subconsciously, that the bejeweled Maltese falcon in Hammett’s novel became in mine an exquisite pigeon-blood red Ruby necklace. Nor did I recognize that Sam Spade, the private eye in The Maltese Falcon, who comes to the aid of the duplicitous Brigid O’Shaughnessy, in my novel became Paul Elliott, a young African American partner in a large Chicago law firm, who, while vacationing in Honolulu, comes to the aid of the guileless Evelyn Rogers, into whose hands the priceless Ruby necklace has fallen.

There, however, the similarities between the two novels end. In my novel another character, Rico, shares the stage with Paul and Evelyn. A killer with a conscience, Rico is dispatched to Honolulu to retrieve the necklace. As I developed his character, he constantly fought to upstage Paul and Evelyn to become the center of attention. You’ll have to read the novel to find out how successful he was.

About the Author

 

ED-DUNCAN

Ed is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He is the original author of a highly regarded legal treatise entitled “Ohio Insurance Coverage,” for which he provided annual editions from 2008 through 2012.

Ed currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH. He is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. To learn more, go to EDuncan.net.

Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

For further information, to request a review copy, or to set up an interview or appearance by Ed Duncan, please contact Kelsey McBride at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com or 805.807.9027.

 

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