Born A Crime is a detailed account of his journey from being a colored kid whose early years in the suburbs of Soweto were spent mostly hiding away from the government, to his foray into the world of music pirating, and to almost losing his mother during the early years of his career.
When I picked up Trevor Noah’s memoir, Born A Crime, my expectation, in all honesty, was to laugh my head off flipping through the 248 pages of the memoir – what else would you have me expect from a world-renowned comedian. But, I soon found out as I started reading that I was in for more than I bargained for. Born a Crime was not only hilarious; it was enlightening and dotted with valuable life lessons all around. Being a fan, and a relatively long time reader of memoirs, I would say that Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime is by far one of the best memoirs I have read so far. An absolute page turner it was.
Expectedly, Born a Crime did deliver in the humor department. I mean it is Trevor Noah we are talking about here, I could not have expected less. There were points while reading the book, where I had to drop my phone, have a good laugh, and then continue reading. The humor was just that good. One of the hilarious experiences narrated in the book for me has to be the first occasion where his mother publicly denied him in front of the cashier at the mall, to avoid paying for a toffee apple which he desperately wanted, but which she wasn’t willing to pay for.
If someone had told me prior to reading Trevor’s memoir, that I would come out on the other side of it, better educated about the beginnings and inner workings of Apartheid in South Africa, I would have concluded such person had absolutely no idea what book we were speaking about. But then, other than explaining in details specific aspects of Apartheid as they played out in the phase of his life being recounted in each chapter. Trevor did a good job of setting up subsequent chapters by giving us a solid historical background to how this aspect of Apartheid that was now having a direct effect on his life, actually began and grew into the monster that it presently was.
For the many deep life lessons, drawn for his own actions and inaction, scattered here and there throughout the book, Born a Crime would sometimes feel less like a memoir, and more like a motivational book instead. Which I totally loved – who doesn’t love a two for one package. Of the many lessons, one that struck me the most was how from his own failure to act when faced with the decision of keeping quiet or making his feelings known to a girl he really admired, Trevor shows us that even though taking that bold step might have us ending up with results we didn’t desire, inaction only leaves us with regrets and a ton of unanswered questions.
And finally, I cannot but comment on the role Trevor’s mother played in his life. Man! is that woman strong willed and a fighter too! She knew what she wanted for her son from the word go, and even though she was faced with a system bent on seeing her fail, she fought to get what she wanted. Plus, I absolutely admire the sort of relationship she established between herself and her son. I would read some things eight-year-old Trevor would say to his mom and would be like, “what?” I’m sure if I dared speak to my African mother with so much confidence, speaking freely and questioning whatever I disagreed with, I would either be dead or physically deformed right now. Even Trevor had to state that with them, it wasn’t just the case of a mother and a son, they were a team.
I really enjoyed reading Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. And if I would be rereading a memoir anytime soon, you can be certain it would be Born a Crime – and if not, then it would have to be Taraji P. Henson’s Around the Way Girl. If you want to read something light-hearted, enlightening and motivating, Born a Crime is one memoir you should be checking out.
BORN A CRIME BOOK DETAILS
Title: Born a Crime
Author: Trevor Noah
Published by: Doubleday Canada
Date of Publication: November 15th, 2016