Monday, February 6, 2017

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah Review

Born a Crime is one of the best audio books that I have ever listened to. Trevor Noah's narration made this so entertaining, that hearing of his experiences as a biracial child growing up in a very racist and restrictive South Africa was easier to digest. Noah points out the significant differences in the intricacies of the way apartheid instituted racism in comparison to how racism is instituted in America. I am not well versed in the way South Africans have dealt with and tried to move forward from the long term damage to black South Africans and just how complicated it all is. I had no idea how many racial categories there were in South Africa and how one could literally be re-categorized from one to another at the discretion of an individual administrator. Noah breaks it all down in such a brilliantly simple and straightforward manner that I could easily see the sly genius in the way that such an evil policy was put into place.  

Noah explains how his life, his family, and personal experiences perfectly mirrors everything that was happening politically and socially while he was growing up in a country that was struggling to redefine and repackage itself. Noah is thoughtful and insightful without ever losing his sense of humor, even in some of the roughest moments of his life. Noah explains how his fair skin afforded him both privileges and hardships depending on who was judging him; including within his own family. I particularly love the honesty he freely gives when describing not only the kind of person that he was as a boy and young man, but also his relationship with his mother and extended family. Noah's relationship with his mother is beautiful because of all of the strife and struggle that his mother never tried to sugar coat. Noah openly displays the good as well as the bad within their relationship. 

The audio book is absolutely FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! I highly recommend experiencing Born A Crime as the audio book. Noah's wit and sharply biting sense of humor shines brightly through. Trevor Noah's fluency in several languages and his ability to imitate the inflection and mannerism of the people that he talks about is amazing. Born a Crime is added to my favorites list. I highly recommend picking this one up!

Here's an interview Trevor Noah did for Audible.

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.


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