Review | Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

“People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: racism, apartheid, bicycles, accidental fires, comedy shows, deaf dogs, pencils, cheese, pirated CDs, orange Volkswagens, jail, acceptance, shoplifting, fast food, dialects and lunch money.

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.

I’m so glad I picked up this book randomly. I went in without expectations and I ended up rating this five stars! For starters, I think it’s important to mention that I didn’t know a lot about Trevor Noah. I knew he was a comedian but I never paid too much attention to his work – something that now has changed -, let alone his life. And this is probably the main reason why I went into this book with zero expectations.

My favorite thing about this book was definitely how much I learned about South Africa and the culture there. The apartheid aspect was insane and I had no idea how bad things were until I listened to this book. This is why I love to read. I always learn so much with reading, regardless of the book being fiction or nonfiction.

Now… another aspect of this book that made me love it so much was his mother. His mother is an absolute legend. Being a daughter of African parents myself, I related so much with their mother-son relationship. Not only was she a badass for doing what she wanted regardless of what people thought of her (which is pretty uncommon), but she tried her best to educate her children with valuable lessons and teach good morals. I really liked Trevor, but his mother was the hero in this book.

I listened to this as an audiobook and I’m glad he was the one who narrated it. I really like when authors narrate their own work because it gives it a personal touch. It’s a great way to better connect the memoir/biography to the person!

After reading this book, Trevor and his mother gained my respect, and I’m definitely curious about his work as a comedian. I’m very happy I picked this up, we can learn so much with one another when we share our stories.


3 thoughts on “Review | Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

  1. Pingback: Wrap-Up | What I Read in June 2021 – Sprayed Edges

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