Yes, I said it. The best book this year. Funny, poignant, historical, happy, and perfect. Yes, it is the story of Trevor, but it is so much more. It is the story of a place and a time that while I thought I understood, I didn't. It's just amazing that this is the story of a YOUNG man. How can this all have happened such a short time ago? Told with such wit and interest this is really the story of a woman who made her own way and taught her child to do the same. So enjoyable. The perfect book. (Posted on 8/28/2017)
Wow...I started this book yesterday and could not put it down. As a new mom myself, I read most of it on my Kindle while either nursing or holding my son, which was fitting as this is such a tribute to his mom. As a long time viewer of the Daily Show, I started watching as Trevor took over from Jon Stewart and while I've always thought he does a good job, I had no idea the depth of character and experiences that were below the surface of those cute dimples! As is fitting to the Daily Show atmosphere, Trevor discusses difficult topics like race often, but I don't think I will ever watch a segment the same way again after reading his descriptions of what it was like to grow up under and during the fall of apartheid. And I keep thinking back to some of his impassioned pieces prior to the election with a whole new appreciation.
But this review shouldn't be about his celebrity on the Daily Show. It stands alone as a remarkable memoir and a completely engaging story that will appeal to anyone who's felt like an outsider. He is a wonderful story teller, finding the right balance between relaying his experiences, weaving in the social atmosphere around it and doing it in such a way that even as an American reader, I was able to visualize the communities he was describing in rich detail.
Additionally, he was able to explain aspects of a post apartheid world that not only clarify the plight of South Africans today but also shed light on some of the challenges we are facing here in the US. He has a unique perspective and a wonderful voice that I hope to hear more of in the future. (Posted on 8/7/2017)
I was born in South Africa, though I did most of my growing up in the U.S., Trevor immediately submerged me into township life with his reading of these amazing childhood stories.
I know Trevor is a big deal is South Africa, and he's quickly becoming a big deal here. Listen to him describe the landscape of South Africa, her politics and her struggles. Take a look through his eyes and see what abject poverty and adversity can do to two strong and insightful souls like Trevor and his mother, and you will get a glimpse into the very best of humanity.
Very inspirational and emotive. I cannot recommend it enough! (Posted on 4/13/2017)
Trevor Noah's, “Born A Crime”, takes the reader on an emotional roller-coaster ride. If you are looking for an educational, exciting, serious, hilarious, intellectually stimulating, and well-written stories, I highly recommend this book.
Trevor Noah writes of his account growing up in post-apartheid South Africa. At the time it was illegal for interracial relations to exist, let alone have "colored" children. Because of Trevor's black mother and white father, he was “Born A Crime”. Trevor shares his childhood through anecdotes detailing his experiences in an elegant, well-written manner.
Every book I read has a purpose. After watching Trevor Noah's interview on the Breakfast Club I was astounded at how effectively he communicated. In addition, given that I am 21 years old and have a lot of life to live--I seek to learn different perspectives and how other people lived their lives to better mine.
Here are my three key takeaways from Trevor Noah's Born A Crime:
1) In Chapter 16 Trevor writes about crime and why it is so prevalent in low-income areas AKA "the Hood". Specifically, in Alexandra which is a city in South Africa. He writes "The hood made me realize that crime succeeds because crime does the one thing the government doesn't do: crime cares. Crime looks for the young kids who need support and a lifted hand. Crime offers internship programs and summer jobs and opportunities for advancement. Crime gets involved in the community. Crime doesn't discriminate." He focuses on crime in the sense of theft, piracy, and dealing drugs.
2) Again in Chapter 16 Trevor shares insight into how systems can operate at the expense of a certain group. He says, "In society, we do horrible things to one another because we don't see the person it affects. We don't see their face. We don't see them as people. Which was the whole reason the hood was built in the first place, to keep the victims of apartheid out of sight and out of mind. Because if white people ever saw black people as human, they would see that slavery is unconscionable."
3) I admire any successful black man who has made an honest living. Being the host of "The Daily Show", Trevor shows the younger generation they can achieve their dreams. Trevor has made a positive impact on my life. I thank and appreciate him for his contribution to our society. (Posted on 4/6/2017)
Well done Trevor! Not only did I enjoy your life story but I could relate so much. Having been born at more or less the same time as you. Raised by a Xhosa mom and a Venda dad, born in Meadowlands, later moved to Langlaagte during Inkatha riots. I just could simply relate to even the phrases that your mom would use to reprimand you. I live in England now, I love watching the daily show and seeing how you've progressed over the years. Your colourful life certainly represents a typical South African child raised in the most difficult times...Well done! I read your book in just 3 days...such an easy read given that I love my political biographies, I thought I was going to be bored at some point! Hell NO I could not put it down, had to cancel on hangouts with friends, just to read a little more...late for work because I stayed up reading most of the night... I could literally hear your voice in most of your sentences and of course I laughed out loud. I have told my British friends about "Born a Crime" and think every black child needs to read that book so that they can understand their origin...so deep. Keep on slaying Trevor!!! (Posted on 4/5/2017)
Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood" comes on top of Janvier Chando's "Disciples of Fortune" and Barack Obama's "Dreams from My Father" as one of those exciting books of mixed-race males who emerged from their constraining environments as success stories for others to emulate. Written in a lyrical manner, Trevor Noah brings out the best in mothers that many men often fail to appreciate, especially in situations where they defied the odds and brought out the best in their children who feel out of place in their societies. This is a recommended read. (Posted on 4/5/2017)
I’ve been an avid fan of Trevor Noah’s since he first came onto the comedy scene. South Africans of all colours needed someone to come along and show the funny side to the craziness that abounds in country. Trevor, with his quiet good humour and ability to mimic accents, has kept South African audiences laughing and I think The Daily Show is most probably followed by all his fans.
Born a Crime is Trevor’s story from being born to a black mother and a Swiss father. He’s coloured, so in apartheid terms he couldn’t be classified as black or white, which meant that if discovered, he could have been taken into a care home for coloured children, so his crafty mother and grandmother had to ensure that he kept a low profile. Could Trevor even as a child give in gracefully to these wishes? Of course not!
His mother must have been one of the most extraordinary women living under the apartheid regime. Having been denied education, she set about getting educated, finding a job as a secretary in the white dominated job market and even managed to rent a flat in a designated white area. This was truly the exception and not the rule in “those days”.
I loved the way he set out the book and in fact, reading this book was especially interesting for me from the prospective of hearing the black and coloured side of those last years of apartheid. The government had over the years, deliberately moved the various groups of people, by language, into homelands or Bantustans supposedly giving each group the chance to rule themselves. This didn’t just apply to the Black population, but the Coloureds, Indians, Chinese (classified as Black) with the Japanese being classified as White! To any non-South African this book is going to be an eye opener, for us born and raised there, it brings back memories of the insanity that we lived in.
I think what I loved most about this book is Trevor’s complete acceptance of his life. There is no bitterness, life was what it was and thanks to his mother, Trevor seemed to live to the full from the time he could first walk.
There’s been a lot of criticism in the USA because of Jon Stewart handing the reins over to Trevor Noah to be the face of the Late Show, but I personally feel (having watched every available episode on YouTube) that he couldn’t have given it to a more deserving person. It is time that the USA embraced people of colour and Trevor is the perfect man thanks to his ability to speak in so many different languages. And his coverage of Trump becoming the next president of the USA has been unique and barbed in the best way possible.
Thank you Trevor Noah for sharing your life with us. Next time you see your mother, tell her that in fact, she’s the star of the book! (Posted on 4/5/2017)