Born a Crime by Trevor Noah was one of the best memoirs I’ve read this year. Trevor lived a truly fascinating life and I was blown away by his story. Embarrassingly enough, prior to reading his book, I didn’t know much at all about apartheid and I’m thankful for everything I learned from the recollections he shared. This book was very insightful and thought provoking and while there were definitely parts that made me sad and angry, the majority of this book made me smile, laugh and cheer.
BOOK DESCRIPTION: “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 stories 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.”
I really enjoyed learning about Trevor’s upbringing and was awe-inspired by how him and his mother conquered poverty, racism, violence, domestic abuse, and more. Trevor’s rebellious nature was incredibly entertaining at times, and some of his stories had me crying from laughing so hard (especially the poop story from his childhood- IYKYK). If there was anything I wish I could’ve learned more about in this book, it would be how his career as a comedian took off and how he got where he is today. However, that was not the focus of his story and the beauty of this story is understanding the hardships he and his family, and so many others, endured during apartheid and what he has achieved in spite of having so many odds stacked against him as a child. I also loved how this book was essentially a tribute to the unwavering love and support by his mother. She sounds like an incredibly brave and strong woman, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her through this book as well.
I truly can’t recommend this memoir enough. For how much raw emotion these intense subjects sparked in this book, it’s Trevor’s incredible narrative that truly made this story educational yet entertaining as hell. This one deserves to be added to your 2021 TBR list if you haven’t already read it.
BEER RECOMMENDATION: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is best paired with Beer Drinking is Not a Crime by Aslin Beer Co. This highly enjoyable double dry-hopped DIPA is brewed with Nelson and Citra hops 🍻