Book Title: Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood
Author: Trevor Noah
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Page Number: 304 pages
The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of 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.
The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.
I was blown away by this book. I’m a huge fan of The Daily Show and I was expecting this to be really funny and it was but it was more about the hardships he faced as a mixed kid in a world where being mixed was illegal. He went through a lot and he managed to come out in mostly one piece at the end. If you’re a fan of The Daily Show or just need a slightly funny and heart wrenching book, definitely pick this book up.
This book was told in a series of flashbacks, it constantly jumps around to different points in his life. At some points you’ll be following a 7-year-old Trevor and then at other times a 17-year-old one. Throughout this book we get to learn a lot about Trevor’s childhood and all the things he went through, being mixed. This book explores a lot of themes, a prominent one being the inability to fit in.
For those of you who watch The Daily Show the writing style sounds a lot like Trevor himself, the jokes are told in the same way and as you read it, you can imagine him saying with his unique tone, inflection and sometimes even hand or facial gestures. I read the eBook, but I know that Trevor is the narrator of the audiobook, and I’ve heard that the audiobook is great so if you can you should definitely check out the audiobook.
Have you read this book? What did you think?