Published by Spiegel & Grau on November 15th 2016
The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.
Trevor Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show 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. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.
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. It is also the story of that young man s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother s unconventional, unconditional love."
Even though Trevor Noah grew up relatively poor in South Africa, it seems that the story of his youth isn’t much different from growing up relatively poor in parts of the United States. What makes his youth so decisively different is that he had the strength to go on when it would have been much easier to surrender to his fate than find a better life. I mean can you imagine that when he was born, it was a crime for his black mother to marry his white father? Just his existence was cause for his mother to be unable to walk with him down the street. He didn’t fit in with the whites, the blacks or even really the colored people since he was brought up to question authority.
Noah talks about his special treatment because of his white father but more importantly, how his mother fought to make him better. A lot of the stories that he tells make you reflect on how being poor and without education can doom a life. All of the stories are told with humor and a part of “how did I survive” type awe. I really enjoyed this and had no idea that his life was so full of horror since what he presents on television is completely different than his background. This is definitely a feel good book.