Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah
Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10
Summary: Literally born a crime, Trevor Noah explores his upbringing living in South Africa during apartheid. Being colored he never seems to fit in, Trevor is too black to be white and too white to be black. His coming of age story is touching, full of hardships and yet, unbelievably hilarious as Trevor Noah uses humor to remain resilient and portray the absurdity that humans can partake in.
10 Brilliant Things about Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime
(May Contain Spoilers)
Born a Crime was hilarious, like laugh-out-loud funny! Even though the book deals with some very heavy topics, Trevor Noah uses his humor effectively and allows the reader to really grasp the absurdity that can be life.
One of the most effective things about Born a Crime is the brutal honesty Noah has. He doesn’t attempt to sugarcoat things or only portray his loved ones in a positive light. He is real, genuine, and straightforward no matter if it is good or bad.
3. South Africa
Learning about a different culture and place in the world is always worthwhile. Obviously with Trevor Noah being born and raised in South Africa, this is where Born a Crime takes place and while Noah is just a single person from this country, he does a great job of showing some of the country’s diversity and difference amongst its people.
Probably the most important subject in Born a Crime is that of racism. While one might assume that racism wouldn’t exist in a country that is majority black, colonialism has influenced all of Africa and has created huge discrepancies between races. These negative influences continue to have an impact today as Noah shows throughout his book.
5. Not Fitting In
While not many of us could claim they understand what it is like to be a colored kid growing up in apartheid South Africa, I think most people can relate to feeling like they don’t fit in. Noah paints such a powerful and heartbreaking portrayal of the hurt, confusion, and desire of wanting to belong.
Throughout Born a Crime the reader can truly sense and feel the deep love and respect Trevor has for his mother and the unconditional love that his mother has for him. It is absolutely beautiful and resonates throughout the novel.
Intellectual and profound in many ways, Trevor is constantly reminding the reader that we are all just human, no better, no less, and the most memorable and hilarious way he reminds us of this is through his comments on shitting:
“It’s a powerful experience, shitting. There’s something magical about it, profound even. I think God made humans shit in the way we do because it brings us back down to earth and gives us humility. I don’t care who you are, we all shit the same. Beyoncé shits. The pope shits. The Queen of England shits. When we shit we forget our airs and our graces, we forget how famous or how rick we are. All of that goes away.”
Overcoming poverty, racism, and a bad childhood is never an easy endeavor. Coming back from being shot in the head seems nearly impossible and yet, these are the stories that Trevor Noah shares. The perseverance that him and his family have shown and continue to show is inspirational and leaves an overall sense of hope that is much needed in a world that is rampant with poverty, racism, abuse, violence, addiction, hatred, and ignorance.
Overall, Born a Crime was written well and a relatively quick read. Without sounding like a boring history book, Noah gave pertinent facts needed for readers to understand context and continued using humor and wit to bring light into some very dark situations.
10. Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah is a fantastic comedian and while I am unsure if he will ever write another book in the future at least we can enjoy him on “The Daily Show.”