If you’re going to read this book, then I suggest listening to it. Trevor Noah is the audiobook narrator so it’s amazing to listen to. Plus, his accent is fabulous.
If you’re not familiar with Trevor Noah, he is a South African comedian, television host, actor, and political commentator. He is most commonly known as the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central.
He was born in Johannesburg and began his career in South Africa in 2002. The book doesn’t go into details about his career really taking off in the United States, which I would’ve loved to hear more about.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood tells stories of his life growing up in Cape Town during tyrannical white rule… and oh my goodness. I’m just glad he’s alive to tell these stories today. They’re wild! This story of a mischievous young boy in the earliest years of his life is truly one of a kind.
Rumor has it that a film is going to be created based on the original book, so be on the lookout for that. This book came out in 2016, and it took me a few years to find, but I’m glad I did. Click here to buy Born a Crime on Amazon.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah Book Summary
Trevor Noah grew up during the apartheid era. This system denied black people in Apartheid South Africa basic human rights.
His dad was white and Swiss-German and his mother, who was his main caregiver, was black Xhosa. For that reason, Trevor was classified as “colored” in accordance with the apartheid system of racial classification.
Even under apartheid, he felt trouble fitting in because it was a crime for him to be born as a baby to a white father and black mother… hence the title of the book.
His religious mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, went through some hard times. For example, she grew up in a hut with fourteen other family members and black families, and let me tell you, she is a saint with so much unconditional love to give. Trevor describes her as being stubborn, fearless, and an extraordinary teacher. The way he talks about her in this book had me laughing out loud.
She was also very religious and traveled a long distance to attend three churches every Sunday, a prayer meeting on Tuesday, Bible study on Wednesday, and youth church on Thursday.
Trevor was dragged along to all of it… even when black South Africans were rioting in the streets and most people were cowering in their homes.
Trevor Noah has some CRAZY Stories
The book starts with Trevor, just a young child at the time, being thrown out of a minibus by his mother because she thought the driver, a man from another South African tribe, was going to kill them. I told you some of these stories are crazy.
Over time, Trevor develops social and mental agility, using his fluency in languages to break the barrier to his acceptance as a mixed-race child. He was a restless young man… who tells a story about how he accidentally burnt down a white man’s house. (See? I told you I was surprised he’s still alive.)
He grew up in poverty in Eden Park but found independence by earning money from selling illegal bootleg CDs at high school and on the streets during a dangerous time as the child of a black mother.
Trevor also lived with a very abusive step-father Abel. He actually shot Trevor’s mom in the head right in front of him. Trevor ended up saving her life… and I’m still worried about Trevor’s mother because Abel is no longer in jail and his mom still lives in South Africa. (Can we do something about that, Trevor?)
This book has everything –– attempted kidnapping, criminal acts, black students in a private Catholic school, and petty crime told with a keen sense of humor.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah Book Review
I feel like with all non-fiction books and memoirs, you almost have to be a fan of the person it’s centered around to be invested from the start. I don’t watch Trevor Noah on TV, but I see some of his videos on social media… and I’m a fan.
Again, I wish it continued on so I could learn more about he built his brand and business, but maybe that’s the next book.
Have you read Trevor Noah’s memoir? If so, what was your analysis of the book?
To see more of what I’m reading, click here.
Find me on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay and let me know what books you’re loving.