The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
As the son of a black woman and a white man, The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah was an affront to South Africa's Apartheid government. But Noah's mom is a formidable figure, and the TV host’s recollections of childhood are inextricably bound to her fearless determination and sometimes crazy antics. With his trademark comedic wit, Noah navigates the heartbreaking realities of growing up in a racist regime. From caterpillars for dinner to the angst of high school dating, this unconventional coming-of-age story is as touching as it is amusing.
Having thoroughly mined his South African upbringing in his standup comedy and monologues on The Daily Show, Noah here tells the whole story in this witty and revealing autobiography. Born to a black African mother and a white Swedish father, Noah violated the Immorality Act of 1927, which outlawed interracial relationships. Though apartheid ended a decade after Noah's birth, its legacy lived on in the country's nigh-inescapable ghettos and perpetual racial conflicts, continuing to affect his life as he came of age. Noah's story is the story of modern South Africa; though he enjoyed some privileges of the region's slow Westernization, his formative years were shaped by poverty, injustice, and violence. Noah is quick with a disarming joke, and he skillfully integrates the parallel narratives via interstitial asides between chapters to explain the finer details of African culture and history for the uninformed. Perhaps the most harrowing tales are those of his abusive stepfather, which form the book's final act (and which Noah cleverly foreshadows throughout earlier chapters), but equally prominent are the laugh-out-loud yarns about going to the prom, and the differences between "White Church" and "Black Church."
All at once compelling, sad, and funny, Born a Crime was a fantastic read about apartheid, determination, guts and triumph, and I had a hard time putting it down. I highly recommend it!
I savoured reading this book!
Fascinating read; keeps you interested and amazed throughout. Trevor's mom is a supernatural believer in faith
Born a Crime
This is one of the best autobiographies I have ever read. I was in tears at the end. It's hard to find the words. I love Trevor Noah, and I feel he was the perfect person to take over The Daily Show from Jon Stewart and I watch him every night. I knew he was from South Africa but had not heard any details about his life. After everything that his mother went through raising him, I would love to know how she feels about his success.