We just returned from an overlong stay in Canada on a home exchange. We had LOTS of extra time, so I got quite a bit of reading and listening to books on tape done.
Among those were two books - vastly different, yet also very similar.
First, I read BORN A CRIME:
That was followed up by: Hillbilly Elegy
Their cultures were entirely different; one in Africa, one in the South.
Each of these books was about young boys growing up and coming of age.
Both of these young men had the decks stacked against them to begin with; both were born into horrendous poverty.
Both came from backgrounds of abuse, fighting, poor education.
Both seemed destined to stay in the circumstances like their families and relatives and friends before them.
BUT, the thing that saved them both from their horrible situations was a strong-willed, caring woman. A woman who cared, who saw the value of education, who wanted more for the boy and could see the need to get out of the ghetto and slum.
For Trevor Noah, the saving woman was his mother. I have the greatest admiration for his mother; a feisty, strong, independent woman who never babied her child, but let him suffer the consequences of his decisions. Yet, she was always there, teaching him he could achieve more.
Noah is now a successful late-night comedian. He achieved the unthinkable, and it is in large measure thanks to his mother.
For J D Vance, the strong woman was his grandmother; his own mother was a drug addict and he lost count of how many times she had been in rehab. But, his grandmother was determined to not let him fail. She was a foul-mouthed, noisy, brash woman, but she loved her grandson. J D Vance is a law-school graduate of Yale University.
So, each book takes place in different worlds, but the outcome was the same.
SUCCESS - due to a never-give-up WOMAN.
Oh, the power of a strong, caring woman. It's impossible to overestimate that incredible power.