Born a Crime

Born a Crime

by Trevor Noah

Overview: Trevor Noahís 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 parentsí 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 Africaís 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 manís relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious motheróhis teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories 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 motherís unconventional, unconditional love.

Brenda Horne Bain (02/11/18): I canít add much more to the previous reviews, except that my reading of this book occurred as we were leaving for a 2-week tour of South Africa. It made everything I saw come alive because I had read, and could relate to, his story as we traveled this beautiful, but damaged, country. It was a heartbreaking, laugh-out-loud, shake my head, hold my breath, educational read. I would love to hear the audio version in his own voice. I can highly recommend this book.
Rating: *****

Debbie Weiss (02/03/18): Just like Faith, I also listened to this book on audible. It was narrated by Trevor Noah himself, and I really believe that this added to my enjoyment. Trevor Noah is the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. His life's journey so far has been truly amazing considering that he grew up very poor in South Africa, the product of a white father and a black mother. Apartheid still existed when he was born and it truly was a crime for an interracial couple to marry and have children. He was never able to walk down the street with both parents at one time.

His parents never married and Trevor lived with his mother and later on a brother and a step-father. We learn about his very early years and his young adult life, often involving scraps with the law. We see how he found it difficult to fit in with his peers because he was neither black nor white, even though he strongly identified with his black extended family. His bond with his mother was intense, as they traveled the difficult path that life brought their way, including domestic violence, gun violence and divorce.

I have a new appreciation for this very talented comedian. His mother always taught him that he was in control of his destiny, and he has taken this advice to heart.
Rating: ****+

Faith Bowers (05/02/17):Trever Noah is a South African comedian. This is his autobiography. He performs his own audio book and naturally is very funny The topics are extremely serious and educational. I learned more about South Africa from a Black point of view than I ever would have from most Nelson Mandela biographies.

In between the humor, Noah explains the planned racisim of apartheid , seriousness of the rules in South Africa and the problems after apartheid ended. Noah writes how he was a problem going up and how his family overcame the obstacles. Trever Noah is a truly enjoyable listen, maybe even better than reading the book.
Rating: *****

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