Oh, this rating makes me feel bad. Three stars means ‘I liked it!’ I just don’t think autobiographies are for me. Nelson Mandela was a great man, and I’m glad I know more about him, but this was not super engaging for me, even in audiobook.
The audiobook, by the way, is a good one. The narrator, Michael Boatman, is from South Africa, so he can do all the clicks and glottal stops that Mandela’s native tongue of Xhosa requires. His voice is soothing and he reads the book clearly and with character.
It’s just, I really think this from-childhood-to-just-before-death autobiography thing is incredibly dull. I don’t even know why I think that, but looking back to other autobiographies I’ve read, there are very few that I don’t feel similarly about (Michelle Obama’s being maybe the only exception I can think of). In general, even great men like Nelson Mandela, aren’t super able to tell what exactly about their own life story is compelling, and there’s either too much detail about things I don’t care about, or not enough detail on any of it, and it’s all just glossed over. I prefer memoirs where there is much more focus on several moments or areas of a person’s life, or biographies, where an an objective author can curate what is worth learning about and what isn’t.
I know that if I tried to write my autobiography, it would be a bust (not least because almost nothing of note has ever happened to me) because I would be like, I gotta include this! And this! And I said this super cute thing when I was three! And meanwhile, my audience is like, this is boring, you’re not cute. Mandela’s book doesn’t have any of those moments, but I feel as if he did. If that makes any sense at all.
Anyway, I know I’m basically alone in this, and nearly everyone else loves this book, so please don’t take my word for it. Go read the reviews of people who actually like autobiographies and take theirs instead. Or give it a try despite reviews. Who cares, you do you.
Read Harder Challenge 2021: Read a book by/about a non-Western world leader.