(81) Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Trevor Noah is the host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.  I don't watch The Daily Show, but I listen to the podcast version pretty regularly. I had heard a lot of good things about Born A Crime, but waited until we had a road trip to read it.  I should not have waited so long.

In Born A Crime, Trevor Noah speaks with honesty about what it was like to be born under apartheid in South Africa. Trevor was born to a black mother and a white father, and in 1984 South Africa, that was illegal.  Trevor also speaks, with blatant admiration, about his mother's strength. As a black woman having a son of mix race put her (and Trevor) in great jeopardy. He speaks about how when he used to go in public with his mother they would have to take somebody else with them and Trevor would have to pretend that other woman was his mother.   Trevor was still pretty young when apartheid ended, but the effects of it lasted for years.  Eventually, his mother married another man and had two more children, but his stepdad was a violent man and the ramifications of that marriage were longlasting.  In fact, he even shot his mother in the head in a situation that was so unbelievable it was like something out of a movie.

Born A Crime is more than just an autobiography.  It is an insightful and honest look at race relations in this world.  So many of Trevor Noah's observations were so profound that I repeated them out loud.

“Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.” 
Ooof.  The truth of that statement is so profound.  Especially today. In the United States.

“Love is a creative act. When you love someone, you create a world for them.” 
His story is a hard-hitting, emotional story.  How can it not be?  But he infuses his intelligent humor in such a way that you can't help but laugh out loud. A lot Especially when he is so honest about being "a naughty little shit." It reminded me of stories that my husband has told me about his own childhood.

Bottom Line - Forget that Trevor Noah is one of the most famous comedians in the world. Even if he had been an unknown person Born A Crime is such a good book that it would have made him wildly famous.  It is that good.


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