This is a very good bio -- Trevor Noah is a true survivor; all credit due to his strong, resilient mother. I love Trevor Noah's comedic takes on current events, politics and life in general. His life story provides essential background for understanding his unique point of view -- the context of his life in South Africa can't be over estimated in importance. This book also lays bare the racist tenants of Apartheid and for that reason, may be a difficult listen for some who would rather deny the facts as they are.
Today, Trevor Noah makes me laugh, but after listening to his story, he has caused me to be more empathetic, more aware and more vigilant in calling out my own racism and white privilege. Very good listen!!
As a Trevor Noah fan I had high expectations of this book. I expected it to be intelligently funny and charming. I didn't expect it to captivate me in the way it did. His true understanding of human nature shines through as he tells his tragic story.
I've been listening to this every minute I could since it came out. This is an incredible autobiography, and you will get your Trevor Noah laughs. But moreover, it's a brilliant lesson on the realities of apartheid, poverty, misogyny, domestic abuse, and more. I guarantee you will have numerous moments of pausing to digest some truly incredible insights, especially if you're privileged in your culture (::ahem:: if you're white). Apartheid, especially, I didn't know nearly enough about. I truly appreciate the stories told even just for that.
The author manages to take into account that much of his audience will not understand the cultures he grew up around, and it feels now that I not only know the author's roots, but that I have a mental landscape of South Africa that never existed for me before. If you know Trevor Noah's work from The Daily Show, you'll know he doesn't miss a moment to reflect on the nuances, the ironies, and himself.
Very well done!!
I don't review a lot of books anymore, but this one got to me. There are lots of books written by people -- including me -- who had a hard time growing up. Abusive parents, poverty, oppression. War. There is a lot of awful stuff children endure. Trevor Noah endured all of it. Name something bad that a kid can experience and it probably happened to him. Born under apartheid, his existence was illegal. His birth was, as the title of his book suggests, a crime. As the child of a white father and a black mother under South Africa during apartheid, if he had been noticed by the authorities, they would have taken him from his family and put him ... somewhere. So merely surviving until the end of apartheid was no mean feat. Add to that extreme poverty, violence and life under the most oppressive, racist regime you can imagine. Actually, you may not be able to imagine it. I knew it was bad, but South Africa refined oppression into an art form.
One of the other noteworthy things about this book was that I learned great deal about things I thought I already knew. I don't know if Noah intended it as a cautionary tale, but it is. Chilling.
I didn't read the book. I listened to the audiobook because Noah reads it himself. He has a beautiful, melodic voice and a lovely cadence. It was a treat for my ears and my brain.
You might think with all of this terrible stuff -- and some of it is really horrific -- that this would be an angry, possibly embittered man. But he isn't. He's funny when humor is possible. Even when he's serious, there is grace and wit -- plus a sweetness and generosity of spirit that's rather uplifting. I don't think I've ever said that about a book. It's not a word I use lightly. Trevor Noah is a rare person, able to appreciate the good stuff in his life and not obsess over the considerable amount of injustice he has experienced.
I'm not usually a big fan of celebrity memoirs or autobiographies, but this is exceptional. If you have the patience, listen to it as an audiobook. Otherwise, consider reading it. He's a smart guy, a good writer, and an astute observer of humanity, government, politics, and relationships. Insightful, witty, and entertaining, I highly recommend it.
The narration is exemplary. He is a chameleon and his command of language gives the narrative so much texture.
The breadth and variety of sound is staggering. The are so many characters each with there own voice and language. It is a tour de force of story telling.
The story, in and of itself, is history, humor, and horror and at the end you will be uplifted.
Wow. Just Wow.
Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” is no joke.
Remembering when Trevor Noah took over the “Daily Show”, thoughts of a South African replacing an American, places one in two minds. One mind thinks how could a person not born in America understand the politics and culture of a country satirized by a TV show? Another mind thinks the “Daily Show” will become more culturally relevant with a commentator that satirizes more than just American culture. The answer to the first mind’s question is the second mind’s conclusion. Personally, it is sad to have witnessed the loss of John Stewart’s insightful American commentary. However, Noah offers a perspective that is equally insightful; admittedly cringe worthy at times, but more universal. “Born a Crime” is testament to Noah’s cultural diversity and universal insight.
Noah is a challenging son. He shows himself to be a hyperactive, non-violent, trouble-maker in his youth. He is born into poverty but raised by a mother who believes in a moral code of unshakable faith. In his youth, Noah defies most of his mother’s inner direction and strict, sometimes physically punishing, discipline. Retrospectively, Noah acknowledges how much his mother loved him, and how her fortitude presumably made him mentally tough, independent, and irreverently objective. Noah knows what it is to be poor. Undoubtedly, Noah now knows what is like to be rich. More importantly, it seems Noah has adopted his mother’s independence and, by virtue of his life experience (some might say), has acquired a superior perception of reality. “Born a Crime” is no joke.
My decision to request Born a Crime has nothing to do with star power or fandom. I have to admit I have never seen Trevor Noah on the Daily Show. I requested this book when I learned it was about Trevor Noah's childhood in Apartheid South Africa.
I started listening as soon as I could
I have to love a guy who finds comedy in tragedy and who gleefully spins yarns about experiences that would keep most of us in therapy for a lifetime. There is a genius in comedy that allows us to encounter devastating truths through the protective lens of laughter.
The heroine of the book is Noah's mother, a feisty lady with a solid rock faith, a gal who snubs her nose at things that don't make sense. She makes mistakes, but always out of love. She takes huge risks but somehow Jesus is always there to catch her mid-fall. Noah was "naughty as s***" and a challenge to raise, but never hateful or mean. He learned to navigate Apartheid society's complex system that divided people in to three groups: black, white, and colored. How one was categorized was senseless. Japanese were put into the 'white' slot but Chinese into the 'colored'.
"The genius of Apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate, is what is was."
Noah was 'colored' with a 'black' Xhosa African mother and a 'white' Swiss father, his very existence implicating his parent's crime. Had the police discovered them, his parents would be sent to jail and Noah sent to an orphanage. He spent much of his life hidden away, indoors. His parents could not be seen together with him, and his mother had to even pretend he was not her child.
Noah was "colored by complexion but not by culture." He spoke multiple languages, Xhosa and Zulu and Afrikaans, and English, could fit into most groups, but felt affiliated to black culture.The book is a series of episodic tales, thoughtfully constructed, saving the climax of his family history until the end of the book, after we have come to know and understand them.
"I saw the futility of violence, the cycle that just repeats itself, the damage that's inflicted on people that they in turn inflict on others. I saw, more than anything, that relationships are not sustained by violence, but by love." The book is funny but is more than a diversive read, it enlarges our understanding of the world. Noah offers an understanding of South African history, colonialism, and Apartheid that is engaging and relevant. He shares the important things he learned and offers them to us. We should listen. We should learn.
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.
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.