Born a Crime

Updated: Jan 24

Trevor Noah

The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. 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.

What’s it about?

We all know Trevor Noah as the hilarious stand-up comedian who made it big in the US as the host of “The Daily Show”. What we don’t know is that his unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the US 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 parents’ 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.

Born a Crime is a collection of stories that tells the story of this young man’s upbringing as he struggles to find his place in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is equally the story of his rebellious and deeply religious mother, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence and abuse that threatens her own life.

What I liked about the book?

This book got me pissed off. It got me laughing like a mad man. It got me teary-eyed like a baby who dropped his ice-cream. You’ll go through a wide range of emotions when reading this book. It’ll be absolutely worth it.

If you’re reading this review, chances are that you’ve had a decent enough upbringing and haven’t faced most of the challenges that Trevor faced in his childhood. This book enlightens us on the childhood and upbringing of people in underdeveloped countries and the problems they face (some of them being quite unexpected.)

Trevor does a great job of exposing apartheid - its legacy, its pettiness, its small-minded stupidity and damage. Some of these beliefs still exist in people’s minds even today and needs acknowledging.

Trevor’s little nuggets of wisdom here and there are so thought-provoking and makes you want to applaud his way of looking at these issues.

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

What did I not like about the book?

Those little nuggets of wisdom I speak about. Trevor has a unique way of looking at the social issues around us and providing people with perspective. He should have really spoken more about that in the book.

Coming from a home where there were days where his family had no food and had to suck out the marrow of chicken bones to fill their stomachs, Trevor’s rise to the top of the TV industry is hugely inspiring and moving. The book leaves you longing to know more about his journey and the challenges he faced in getting to the top. A sequel memoir maybe someday?

My verdict-

As I said… The book will take you on a wide range of emotions and leave you with a whole new perspective on life and society. It will leave you humbled and grateful for the upbringing you’ve had. It will leave you inspired to make the most of your life even in the toughest of circumstances.

While I haven’t read many biographies or memoirs, this was one that I simply had to read after my sister recommended it and showed me some of his quotes. It’s definitely a must-read book for everybody to give you a different outlook on society and enlarge your worldview.

Rating - 9/10

Check it out right now by clicking on the link below! Might just be at a good price :)

Thank you for reading my review. Hope you enjoy the book!

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