Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Book By Trevor Noah (Online Reading - Summary - Review - Book - Download - PDF)

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood is an autobiographical comedy book written by South African comedian Trevor Noah, published in 2016. Paramount Players is producing a film adaptation.

Book Summary
Trevor Noah growing in apartheid in South Africa. As a mixed-race son of a white father and a black mother, Noah himself was classified as "colored" according to the apartheid racial classification system. According to Noah, he said that even under apartheid, he felt trouble adapting because it was a crime "to be born as a mixed-race baby", hence the title of his book. At the time of their birth, however, mixed marriages had already been decriminalized; before the age of 1 year, the laws relating to mixed relations were completely eliminated.

In large part, the book is a hymn to Noah's mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo, who grew up in a hut with 14 occupants. She was a fiercely religious woman who took her son to three churches every Sunday, a prayer meeting on Tuesday, a Bible study on Wednesday and a youth church on Thursday, even when black South Africans rioted in the streets and most of the people cringed with fear in their homes.

The book begins with young Noah being kicked out of a minibus by his mother because he thought the driver, from another tribe, was trying to kill them. Later in life, young Noah is caught stealing a car, and his mother establishes the law on crime and punishment. She was an important figure in which he became a man, but he had many problems of his own: years after the minibus incident, Noah's stepfather shot him in the head as he returned from the church with his family. Young Noah developed social and mental agility that helped him during these times of judgment, whether he was speaking in his own language with different tribes, or risking being arrested and violently selling illegal smuggled CDs in dangerous neighborhoods. In spite of everything, his mother administered a hard love and "the old school, the discipline of the Old Testament."

Book Club Questions

Book Review
Trevor Noah is a funny man and this book is an accessible and noisy read for that. But there are many difficulties and, as expected, also some direct violence. Born in 1984 in the last days of apartheid, his genesis and rise against considerable odds are essentially due to a person, his remarkable mother, Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah.

Descriptions of his religious devotion as seen through his early childhood eyes are hilarious and revealing, but the key elements are the clear determination to give Trevor all the opportunities to succeed (he deliberately does not have a Xhosa name to mark her way) and her Very own sense of perverse humor. Clearly, Noah has inherited both traits in abundance.

The book is a largely chronological account of his itinerant and, suspected, idiosyncratic childhood. Presumably, his intention is to paint a more complete picture of Trevor Noah, the man, for his growing number of fans worldwide. In this context, Born a Crime is not just a slippery title: his parents violated crooked laws, although both to bring him into the world and to raise him. And that results in many bittersweet stories simply told in an attractive and ingenious way.

The interesting thing about the book is that, on one level, it gives you a better idea of ​​where man comes from and what has formed him; but on another level, it makes you wonder how this child torn from the heart of Soweto-Jozi makes sense of himself today, creating and presenting the Daily Show in New York City. There seems to be a side of Noah that we haven't seen, one that might make him vulnerable in a way he has chosen not to share yet.

However, it is significant in his description of how a Soweto child can end up presenting a world-class program; but it is also important in his description of the way in which Noah, multilingual and multi-ethnic, skilfully navigates through the various cultural and linguistic traps that cross the South African and global landscape. No wonder he cultivated humor as an essential tool for his survival. Survive, and prosper, in what you definitely have.

About the Author
Trevor Noah is a South African comedian, television and radio host, and actor. He is currently the host of The Daily Show, a nightly television show at Comedy Central.