Born during Apartheid, Trevor Noah was the child of a white father and a black mother. In a time when that union was illegal, punishable by jail time, his very existence was evidence of that crime. In Born a Crime, Trevor tells stories from his childhood, growing up in South Africa with his mom as his constant companion. He shares memories of not fitting in with his peers because he was “coloured” (neither black nor white) and details some absolutely horrifying moments that he and his family have experienced.
If I could give this more than 5 stars, I would. It has been a long time since I last read a book where I procrastinated on finishing it as I neared the end, because I didn’t want it to be over. Born a Crime was that book for me. While I am a huge fan of both Trevor Noah and The Daily Show, readers don’t need to be familiar with either to enjoy this book. If you’re going into this book thinking it’s full of humourous essays, the likes of Tina Fey or Mindy Kaling – this isn’t like that. Trevor’s book is a phenomenal read about a mischievous young boy trying to find his place in life, in a homeland where he didn’t quite fit in anywhere. There is certainly humour in his storytelling, sure, but you probably won’t find this in the “funny” section of the bookstore.
The stories that are shared in this book are often times shocking and, to me, they felt surreal, yet I constantly kept reminding myself that that was the reality for not only Trevor but countless others. For so many of us that have been privileged to grow up in North America, and have no real concept of the horrors that people of all ages face in more developing nations, this was an eye-opening read. The earnestness in which he talks about how he had always thought he was an “indoors child” only to realize later that it was because he had to be kept hidden away was both heartbreaking and touching at the childlike naiveté in the face of the violence and hatred all around him. Right from the dedication at the beginning through to the last page of the book, Trevor’s love and appreciation for his mother and all his life experiences thus far shine through.
Born a Crime focuses on Trevor Noah’s childhood growing up in South Africa. The journey he takes with his career in stand-up comedy and, subsequently, becoming the host of The Daily Show is not really touched upon, however I find his Netflix special You Laugh But It’s True a great companion. I had watched it earlier this year, but now want to re-watch it after having read his book. Like I said earlier, I would give this more than 5 stars if I could. Ask any of my friends, I haven’t shut up about Born a Crime since finishing it.
I had the amazing opportunity to meet Trevor earlier in December for his first book signing ever! What a genuine and charming individual.
13 hours after first lining up this morning at 7am to get the book and "ticket", I finally got to meet @trevornoah and tell him what a fantastic job he's doing on the @thedailyshow ! Excited that Toronto is his first book signing. Halfway through #BornACrime and absolutely loving it. (It was a pleasure being first in line with you @turrrrn!) . (To clarify, I wasn't waiting in line FOR 13 hours.. 😉)