Book Review: Born a Crime, Trevor Noah


Being in grad school has really cut into my personal reading time. The only time I found that I was able to read something non academic was on my daily commute to and from work. My metro ride is not long (except for the days that there are delays which is actually often), so even then I am not provided with a large chunk of time. I decided that I would focus on reading essay collections and short stories, I could usually get one done a day, and it would not leave me hanging on the plot, causing me to want to continue reading instead of studying. I have enjoyed reading essay collections greatly. While I was reading “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay, Trevor Noah released his collection and while I loved “Bad Feminist” I couldn’t wait to finish it and move on to “Born a Crime”.

I am a huge fan of the Daily Show, and often Trevor Noah’s clips on Instagram get me through the day. Since I was a “devoted” fan, I thought I knew what to expect. Spoiler, I didn’t. The book surprised me in so many ways. I won’t go into crazy detail in this post because I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone and want to encourage you to read it for yourself. The overview is the book is a collection of stories about Trevor and his mother, born in South Africa during apartheid, we follow Trevor’s story from childhood to adulthood. The books title comes from the fact that Trevor’s father was a white Swiss man and his mother was black Xhosa, their union was against the law. We get Trevor’s prospective on what it was like to be hidden away indoors, when apartheid ended we are given stories on his mothers constant effort to end their struggle, to create a place in the world for her and Trevor.  We see a mother willing to go to great ends to teach her children that they are worthy and capable of success and happiness.

Trevor uses just the right amount of humor while telling his story, but does not try hard to make difficult subjects funny.  This book provide me with insight into laws, injustice, education, abuse and diversity in South Africa. I finished this book about thee weeks ago and I still find myself pondering over different subjects and events. So because I can’t say more with out spoiling it for you, just go out and read it because it is awesome. I hope it impacts your life just as much as it has impacted mine.



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