Author: Trevor Noah
Rating: 5/5 stars
Good Reads Synopsis:
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.
Wow. This book was so inspiring. If I had one word to describe it, I’d call it inspiring. We follow Trevor’s life as a kid growing up in South Africa during the apartheid, which was essentially the law that forbade blacks from being a part of the white population. He also follows up after the policy was dissolved when Mandela was freed, how he transitioned and what came after. Trevor is an amazing story teller. You really get hooked as soon as you start reading and the story just sucks you right in. It’s a fairly fast read, the book is not too long but also because you fly through the entire book. Trevor, being a comedian and all, has a funny way of explaining horrible things. You really get an in depth sight and point of view of what South Africa’s like, and he does a great job as a narrator portraying that. He shares some hilarious tales and at the same time, he’s shedding light on some of the bitter truths of life. He talks about racism, religion, abuse, family, friendships and culture. All while maintaining the same light-hearted narrative so it’s never felt like he’s giving a speech about all these issues, but rather links them to each one of his stories that solidifies his opinion on said issues. I would highly recommend this to everyone. Oh, and I heard good thing about the audio book. It’s been narrated by Trevor himself, which makes it even better!
Guys, how cool is his mother though? For me, she was truly the star of the book. Their mother-son relationship was so pure and fun to read. She truly is a woman of strong will and determination. I admire her so much for being as strong as she was, consistently. The parts in the books where Trevor wrote about his step-father and domestic abuse really struck a chord with me. The best part was how realistically he had written about it. I find it extraordinarily annoying when writers write about abuse and make it look like the abuser is an evil, monstrous person. Which not to say is not true, to some extent, but that is not how it works. And this book does exactly that. It sucks that Abel is free today but that’s just how the world works. I also loved to see his journey, I never would have imagined that he had faced all these hardships. I can’t help but feel proud of him. I mean, he ate worms for food an entire month. Now he’s the host of The Daily Show. The story about Babika was hilarious and I literally laughed out loud. The only thing that bothered me a little were the loose ends. Like, what happened to Teddy? Is he still in contact with him? How did he gain all his fame? The ending was a little abrupt in my opinion. However, I feel like there is definitely room for a sequel! I want to read how he got where is today, as a comedian, a writer, a host etc. I would love to know what your favorite part of the book was!
You can buy the hardcover here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/born-a-crime-trevor-noah/1123595364?ean=9780399588174