Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

No Series
NON-FICTION
rating

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

I'm not an audiobook fan in general, but I see why this one won awards for its audio. I must say that the ending and miracle was heartwarming. What fascinated me the most was the beginning and the ending, his mother is a hell of a woman and I continued to be impressed by her spirit, her strength, and her individualism throughout the entire story. I found her the most impressive part of the book. Some of the stories are less interesting than others, of course, but there were funny and random childhood memories that kept springing up.

My friend is a big fan of Trevor Noah, but I hadn’t heard of him before this book. I came into it without knowing anything about him, so I can’t preface my reviews on reasons to read this story or what I think of the celebrity beforehand. I ended up getting it because it was a highly recommended award winner, and also because I need to broaden my horizons with some of the books I read.

Of course the story has a lot of race issues, and some of it is especially heartbreaking, especially with the mother rebelling by being in different parts of town and working hard to put off jail bounties when this happened. Again, hell of a woman. The ending has one of the most miraculous stories I’ve read and again I have to repeat, absolutely heartwarming.

South Africa - I learned much about it during this book, so it was informative as well as entertaining. Some chapters are humorous and fun, while others are serious and depressing. At least with this book, the depressing moments are eye-opening and make me think. Besides the cultural issues, the family dynamics and held under the thumb of an abusive husband and step-father was gripping. The world has a long way to go to get better equally for all people, men and women alike.

That Hitler name chapter? Bizarre.





Book Quotes


“Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.”

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