Born a Crime fulfills the “A Book Where the Author is from Asia, Africa, or South America” category of the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge.
I think I double-dipped on this list item. I read Trevor’s book and also My Sister, the Serial Killer, both authors being from Africa. But it’s all good. The perspective shift I received from Born a Crime helped me better understand the storyline of the other book. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Born a Crime is an autobiographical tale of Trevor Noah’s childhood in South Africa. He was ten when Apartheid finally ended there. Being a mixed-race child, he spent those ten years unable to be with his father, hiding his heritage, and living a life I could never imagine. And when Apartheid fell, not much changed for him. The book chronicles many events and circumstances that created the man we know from The Daily Show. Noah used humor, language, and deep insights to help curb the tough topics discussed throughout the entire book.
And what a book…
I listened to the book on audio and so should you.
If you plan to read it, let Trevor read for you. He’s an amazing storyteller. His accent is dreamy, but when he slides into one of the half-dozen languages he knows…wow, just wow.
As I read, finding out all the terrible, wonderful, tough things the man endured growing up in South Africa, I could feel my white privilege shining all over me. The man went through the wringer, but he found a way to survive and thrive even though he was an outcast in his society. He chose to be himself and made a stand. I’m awed and amazed by the man and his journey. I’m also humbled that he accomplished so much with all those barriers in his way. It’ll be a long time before I whine about anything.
And the man’s mother? Can we nominate her for sainthood? What a woman! Every story about her strength, commitment, and sometimes odd mothering styles (chasing her son down the street) had me laughing, crying, and grateful that women like her exist in the world. That strong women like her fight for their families, teach their sons to be strong, and keep humor in their hearts the entire time.
Needless to say, I very much enjoyed Born a Crime. The mix of humor, tragedy, political topics, and oppression moved me as I read (listened) and made me think of ways to make my little piece of the world a more loving, open place for everyone. It’s not an easy read or a completely humorous one. But it is a heartfelt tale of a real person who started very low and became a good person, successful comedian, and his mother’s pride and joy.
Five thumbs up in all seven of Trevor’s languages.