Autobiographies/Biographies Book Reviews

Born a Crime- Trevor Noah

I absolutely love, love this book!!

I yell laugh so hard and on so many occasions while reading that my cousin is now convinced that I am a lunatic. I DO NOT CARE.  Trevor’s humor is subtle and so real that in some instance even as I laugh it made me a little sad that the world could be so cruel. I identified with his South African tales on many levels as some aspect were very similar growing up in Jamaica. For example, Religion and how serious my mother is, Like Trevor’s Mom, about attending Church every Sunday come high or low water. If something is preventing you from going to church then it is only the devil which best believe she is now even more determined to be there. I fell in love with Trevors Mom reading this and fell in love a whole lot with Trevor himself.

Noah’s memoir recounts his South African Childhood in a hilarious, energetic and enriching set of short stories. Trevor Noah was ‘Born a Crime’. Born to a Black South African mother and a White European father at a time in South Africa when it was illegal for any such type of involvement between black and White could take place. They cared but wanted him more.  He was living proof of their wrongdoings.  In addition, he was born in an immense divided world, not only between black and white but even further; colored, Indian, Zulu, Xhosa, Tsonga…etc. He was kept indoors for most of his childhood and even when his mother would dare venture out with him she would have to pretend she is his babysitter or in one case pretend she doesn’t know who the child belongs to. In another case, she had to push him out a moving vehicle in an effort to save their lives from gangsters of a different tribe. Through all the struggles and her creative ways to survive his mother loves him immensely and fiercely. At the end of Apartied, Trevor and his mom were free to be seen legally together and set out on a grand adventure. To live freely, fully and do whatever in a future of freedom.

Many critics describe this book as ‘A Love letter to his mother’ and I am in complete agreement with this statement. This collection of 18 personal stories are deeply moving, vivid and hilarious. It tells a story of partnership and relationship. A mother who is not only his provider but his ally, his teammate his biggest supporter as they grow and navigate life side by side. It speaks to poverty and his mother’s deep affinity with religion and how that helped to mold him into the man that he is now. It touches on Domestic abuse and how this is enabled by a society who stereotypes women as weak and men as the King of the household who is free to do as he pleases with his wife. There are so many facets to this series of stories that could be interpreted, sliced and diced but one thing is true is that Noah is a master storyteller and is in top form then and now as a comedian.

If you love humor and to feel good after a read, this is the book for you. Highly recommend.