Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

by Trevor Noah

Hardcover, 2016

Call number




Spiegel & Grau (2016), Edition: Later Printing Used, 304 pages


Biography & Autobiography. Performing Arts. Nonfiction. Humor (Nonfiction.) HTML:#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER ? More than one million copies sold! A ??brilliant? (Lupita Nyong??o, Time), ??poignant? (Entertainment Weekly), ??soul-nourishing? (USA Today) memoir about coming of age during the twilight of apartheid   ??Noah??s childhood stories are told with all the hilarity and intellect that characterizes his comedy, while illuminating a dark and brutal period in South Africa??s history that must never be forgotten.???Esquire   Winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor and an NAACP Image Award ? Named one of the best books of the year by The New York Time, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, Esquire, Newsday, and Booklist 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 h… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Berly
Hands down, one of my favorite reads in years. Trevor narrates his own book, filled with stories from his childhood growing up in South Africa. I can't imagine reading this book in print, the audio was just so amazing. He brings to life an array of characters with such honesty, love and humor, I
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just wanted to run errands so I could get in my car and listen some more! I loved hearing all the different African languages (he is fluent in several) and I learned so much about Africa's culture during apartheid. I had no idea that it wasn't just blacks and whites, but blacks, whites and coloreds. Or that a colored child could not be caught with his white parent or they would risk jail time. Or that Japanese and Chinese and Indian were lumped into one of these three categories based on how in favor they were (trade opportunities, etc) at the time. Trevor reveals all the intricacies of growing up a mixed race child, and the difficult changing politics of Africa, but fills your heart with his never-ending stories and sense of humor. I am not doing this book justice. It was amazing!!
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LibraryThing member Cariola
I don't often read or listen to biographies, and when I do, they are more likely to be of historical figures than of contemporary celebrities. But I was curious to learn more about Trevor Noah, who replaced the much-beloved Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show. I knew that he was born to an
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interracial couple when South Africa was still under apartheid--hence his title, "Born a Crime." But I knew little more about him or, in fact, much about apartheid beyond the basics. I learned a lot about both in listening to this book. Since Trevor is still quite a young man, the thrust of the book is the effects of apartheid on a biracial child and teenager. For one thing, the young Trevor never quite knew where he fit in. He was too white to be black, too black to be white, and uncomfortable in the category "colored." During his childhood, there was not only conflicts between the two races but also between the various tribes. He tells one story of his mother, walking home from church with he and his baby brother, being harassed by a white man. Seeing a minicab with a black driver, she jumped in with the children, feeling that they would be safe; but the driver was a member of the opposing tribe and threatened to kill them. Patricia, who comes across as a strong, brave, no- nonsense woman and the single most positive force in Trevor's life, made a dangerous decision that likely saved them all. This is not an isolated story: similar episodes occur throughout the book. Some of them are particularly sad, such as Trevor being in a park and calling after his white father as the man ran from him, in fear of being exposed. When he was young and staying with his grandmother, he was not allowed to play with his black cousins in the front yard and had to remain inside or in the walled back yard. The reason? If the authorities had seen a light-skinned child in a black neighborhood, they could legally sweep him up, sever all ties with his family, and place him in an orphanage. These are just a few examples of the many incidents that were commonplace under apartheid, and it is clear that they left a lasting impression on young Trevor.

But please don't think this memoir is all doom and gloom and fear. After all, Trevor Noah is a comedian, and he finds plenty of humor in his own story. And that's a very good thing: we need it, as he did, to endure the sadness and nearly intolerable constraints under which he grew up. There are the usual stories of teenage angst: falling in love, trying to find a date for the prom, falling in with a "bad crowd," trying to pull a fast one on his mother or stepfather, etc.

And behind it all is his mother Patricia. Her strength and wisdom, and the love between her and her son, come shining through.

I recommend the audio version, perfectly read by the man who lived it and wrote it.
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LibraryThing member MontzaleeW
Born a Crime Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah is such an interesting look into the life of a talented young man. I am a big fan of Trevor and watched his special on Netflix where he speaks of his life growing up but this goes into so much detail, it is stunning all that this
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guy goes through and is not a bitter man. He describes the horrible laws and society he is born into and the way he is looked at in his society. How he tries to see himself. His life in poverty, with a very religious mother, an abusive step father, his struggles to find himself and diligent acts, his family, the horrible times in his life and the good times in his life. Through it all, he keeps his humor and love alive and shares it with us in this wonderful book. There is so much in here and he tells it so well. He has a good heart and it comes out in this book. He is not jaded by his past but seems to be inspired to be better because of it. Great job Trevor, we love you! Thanks NetGalley for allowing me to read this wonderful, touching book!
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LibraryThing member mountie9
Fascinating, thought provoking, poignant and hilarious. Honestly I am so out of touch these days I had actually never heard of him until my friend Michele posted about his book. What she said intrigued me so I checked out the audio version. I must thank Michele for this, as from the very first word
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I was hooked. First off he has a lovely south African accent that I could just listen to for hours, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Its a little bit coming of age, a little bit history lesson of Apartheid and what that really meant and a set of insightful essays that challenge your beliefs and perceptions of the world. His stories are at time hilarious, at at other times heartbreaking and sweet. Truly fascinating and a must read for everyone. Let me tell you, it will make you think of crime in a different way. Sorry this is so brief but things are busy these days, but I still wanted to bring this one to your attention. My fav so far this year.

Favourite Quotes

"it's easy to be judgmental about crime when you live in a world wealthy enough to be removed from it"

"My mother didn’t believe in self-pity. “Learn from your past and be better because of your past,” she used to say, “but don’t cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don’t hold on to it. Don’t be bitter.”

“In society, we do horrible things to one another because we don’t see the person it affects. We don’t see their face. We don’t see them as people. Which was the whole reason the hood was built in the first place, to keep the victims of apartheid out of sight and out of mind. Because if white people ever saw black people as human, they would see that slavery is unconscionable. We live in a world where we don’t see the ramifications of what we do to others, because we don’t live with them. It would be a whole lot harder for an investment banker to rip off people with subprime mortgages if he actually had to live with the people he was ripping off. If we could see one another’s pain and empathize with one another, it would never be worth it to us to commit the crimes in the first place.”
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LibraryThing member ViragoReads
This was amazing. I do not understand how there are people who thought this was bad. My first thought is that it's white people who just don't/won't get what growing up black is like, but I don't want to be that person.

As a black woman growing up in racist America, even I cannot imagine what it was
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like to grow up like Trevor did. Apartheid... I just can't imagine. I've experienced racism, but DAMN! I thought this was a brilliant story about his life and the fact that he was unapologetic made it that much better. Why should he apologize? And no wonder he turned to comedy. Yikes! His life was fully a humor, but sadness and fear were very prevalent. I cried when he spoke about his mother being shot and how he thought he had lost her. I was so angry that nothing was ever done about his waste of space step-father. The only parts I skipped were anything with the dogs being abused, or if/when they died. I cannot do animal abuse or death even if the death is just of old age.

Excellent listen.
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LibraryThing member ecataldi
An exceptional audiobook by comedian and Daily Show host, Trevor Noah. Honestly, I didn't know shit about Trevor until I started reading this, the cover didn't look appealing and I may have never picked this up had it not been for my friend's insistence that it was great. She was right, and I
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highly recommend that this is listened to rather than read, because the author narrates it himself and will even sing, speak in other languages and do fantastic impersonations. It was a laugh out loud experience. Even though his memoir is quite hilarious, it's also eye-opening and a little horrifying as well. Born during South Africa's apartheid, Trevor grew up in a hellish environment that most people aren't even familiar with. It's a great memoir and mini-history on the South African troubles. Fantastic read, will definitely check out again.
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LibraryThing member Castlelass
Trevor Noah’s memoir about growing up in South Africa during and after apartheid, and how racism shaped his self-concept. As a mixed-race child, he struggled with identity. He was viewed one way legally and another way by others. His ability to speak many languages and adapt to changing
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circumstances helped him develop a fluid persona, using his skills for relating to others.

Trevor Noah is a natural storyteller. His vignettes from his life are entertaining and at times humorous. But he does not mince words in discussing systemic oppression and its impact. He is also extremely forthcoming about his own foibles, including a stint in jail. Along the way, the reader learns about South Africa’s history, cultures, multiplicity of languages, and racial divisions.

I was struck by his close relationship with his mother, a strong woman who rebelled against the status quo. She provided a structured life for him and enabled him to view life in a positive way, despite the many obstacles. She also dealt with domestic abuse, and this is an area where the police and social norms were complicit in what eventually happened to her.

I listened to the audiobook, brilliantly read by Trevor Noah. As a caution, I would not recommend listening to it within earshot of those sensitive to expletives. I am not a follower of his show and I generally steer clear of the celebrity culture, but I was greatly impressed by this memoir. He has something to say, and he says it well.
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LibraryThing member kaulsu
A book to be listened to: The authenticity of the author’s voice adds credibility. BUT (oh oh) really? Does the use of f*** in every sentence really make it more credible? More real? There are several women I would give it to if it were using standard English, but this language would be a deal
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LibraryThing member streamsong
Trevor Noah was born under South Africa's apartheid system.

When his fiercely independent mother decided she wanted a baby, she picked her best friend for the father. It didn't matter to her that he was a white foreign national. However, it did matter to South Africa. It was a crime for whites and
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blacks to have sex – much less a baby. If discovered, Trevor's mother would have been imprisoned and Trevor taken away to live in an orphanage.

Throughout her life, this strong woman bucked the system in many ways, finding ways to live in the better neighborhoods where it was illegal for her to live, and getting the best education for her son.

Trevor spent his earliest years being hidden- not allowed to venture from his family house and yard. Once apartheid ended, and Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, things became different – but the deeply ingrained racist system remained.

Trevor identified himself as black since he lived within a black family. To the casual observer, he was much lighter skinned and so labeled as mixed – but the mixed bloods, who were the result of mixed bloods marrying mixed bloods for generations, had their own culture as did the whites, the Indians and the Chinese. The race that you belonged to determined who who were, where you lived and whom you hung out with in the school yard. Trevor was the odd man out – not belonging to any of the predetermined groups.

This is Trevor's story of finding a place for himself in a society.

Like others with painful childhoods, Trevor overcame with humor, and is now a well-known South African comedian. The stories he tells are deeply saddening but achingly funny at the same time. It's a vivid picture of growing up in an absurd time with an absurd and unjust system where white policemen armed with automatic rifles and tactical gear still arrived to break up noise complaints in black neighborhoods.

Highly recommended!
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LibraryThing member DeltaQueen50
I picked up Born A Crime by Trevor Noah because I have read so many positive reviews about the book, in particular the audio version has been lauded so I decided to give a listen. Now I can add my voice to all the others who are praising Trevor Noah’s memoir of growing up in South Africa both
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under apartheid rule and it’s during it’s aftermath.

The book is full of deeply personal recollections that make the reader feel like you are having a one on one conversation with the author. At times very funny, it is also in turns informative, eyeopening and unnerving. Over and above all, this book stands as a tribute to his mother, who is an amazing and brave woman. Choosing to have a bi-racial child during the dark days of apartheid was dangerous and difficult as this very act violated many of South Africa’s laws at that time. She deliberately chose his name of Trevor as it has no African meaning so that he could grow up to be free to be, go or do whatever he wished. Her valuable life lessons were delivered to her son along with firm discipline and fierce religious values.

Hearing these stories in the author’s own voice gives both the humorous situations and his social observations a feeling of authenticity as he takes you on this journey of his early years. Born A Crime was an excellent listening experience that I highly recommend.
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LibraryThing member ilovemycat1
When Trevor Noah was picked to replace Jon Stewart for the host of The Daily Show, he was thrust into the cable comedy world with mighty shoes to fill and was a complete unknown, at least in the US. He was scrutinized and compared to Jon by fans and critics alike. The verdict was not always
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positive. But, Trevor is well read, funny, super smart, professional and adorable. What I loved about Trevor's book is how his background and upbringing was so different on so many levels than most everyone here in the US, and especially Jon Stewart who grew up in the suburbs of NJ. The talk of his mother's deep faith and devotion to church and of Trevor who was made to join her every week was my first surprise and made a deep impression. The rule of apartheid manifesting itself in every corner - especially in the way blacks in S Africa were separated into homelands, mixing of the races totally prohibited, and the classification of race that left Trevor as even more of an outsider, was always eye opening, although not unknown to me. It was striking how Trevor was not a hit with girls and I loved the stories of Trevor finding a niche to earn money by being the first in line at school for the snacks. The book is engaging and interesting and easy to read. The only shortcoming to the book was that I wished it went a little further in years. It ends long before the emergence of Trevor Noah, the world wide stand up comic that took the USA by storm. Well done, Trevor!
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LibraryThing member hemlokgang
A compelling autobiography about childhood in pre and post-Apartheid South Africa. Trevor Noah experienced love, violence, racism, terror, poverty, abuse, and more. He perpetrated a wide variety of Huck Finn-ish foolish, and at times destructive, acts. It really is quite remarkable that he is in
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the position of celebrity in the United States at this point. Fascinating life story!
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LibraryThing member sriddell
A fascinating memoir of a man born under apartheid in South Africa. The story should have been a really difficult read: poverty, racism, domestic violence. But instead the author made everything seem very and humorous.

I listened to the audio narrated by the author, and I'm certain this added to
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the experience. He's telling the stories of his own childhood and it comes through in his voice.

Wonderful book!
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LibraryThing member hantasmagoria
This would be an amazing stand alone book even if Trevor Noah wasn't famous.

In fact, his fame might hurt it a little -- everyone I recommend it to seems to think Trevor Noah is this mild mannered man with a cute accent.

He provides an incredibly fascinating first personal account of growing up
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under the insanity of apartheid and the intersection of black, white, and colored communities, cities and townships. Well told and deeply insightful. I learned a ton about South Africa.
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LibraryThing member Maydacat
Trevor Noah’s account of growing up in South Africa as child of a black woman and a white man is amazing. He describes what it was like not really belonging anywhere. His appearance put him in one category, but he felt more akin to another. His antics, often outside the law, bordered on
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dangerous. He descriptions of going to church and riding in a car with his mother were quite entertaining. His information about living under the constraints of apartheid and then its slow demise was enlightening. All of it is strung together with humor and a bit of profanity. Most touching was his relationship with his mother. His great respect and love for her shines throughout the book. This no-holds-barred memoir is one that will grab your attention from beginning to end. You will laugh at his antics, but you will also feel his anguish. Remarkable and recommended reading.
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LibraryThing member Tytania
Noah is a comedian, and sometimes drops a one-liner or story that's a little jokey, or even very jokey. I thought the story about Hitler was LOL. But it's not a comic book.

Noah is not a writer, so it's not a literary, gripping, flowing book.

Noah is not THE GLASS CASTLE, so it's not "OMG how I
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survived my crazy childhood". There is racism and domestic abuse out the wazoo and worm-eating poverty. But it's not a shock book.

Ultimately it is a story: the story of his mother. Noah knows what material he's got, and that his mother's story is the Big Story in his life, and he tells it simply and effectively.
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LibraryThing member detailmuse
Nearly one million people lived in Soweto. Ninety-nine point nine percent of them were black -- and then there was me. I was famous in my neighborhood just because of the color of my skin. I was so unique people would give directions using me as a landmark. “The house on Makhalima Street. At the
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corner you’ll see a light-skinned boy. Take a right there.”

This is a great memoir -- informative about race in South Africa during and after apartheid; interesting about the mixed-race comedian’s growing up and coming of age there; and inspirational about how his mother stepped ‘way outside societal and legal bounds to have him and raise him. It’s upbeat and often humorous. It’s also reflective, and the passages about domestic violence by his stepfather are among the most harrowing I’ve read.

{T}he highest rung of what’s possible is far beyond the world you can see. My mother showed me what was possible. The thing that always amazed me about her life was that no one showed her. … She found her way through sheer force of will.
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LibraryThing member varwenea
“My mom raised me as if there were no limitations on where I could go or what I could do. When I look back I realize she raised me like a white kid – not white culturally, but in the sense of believing that the world was my oyster, that I should speak up for myself, that my ideas and thoughts
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and decisions mattered.”

In “Born a Crime”, the beloved Daily Show host reveals his complicated childhood and early young man years in South Africa. In a 3 parts book, separated into early child hood, school/teen years, and post high school years, we learn of the complications of being a “born a crime” person, the appalling execution and effects of apartheid, and the inherent difficulties of living in and around poverty. Delivered in a style honed by years of being a standup comedian and now talk-show host, his words have a precision and clarity that drills into the heart of the matter. The facts of his youth, his upbringing, his “no-box” status (not white, not black, not colored – per SA standards) leaves him vulnerable to arrest, to segregation (physically and figuratively) amongst his peers, his naughtiness as a child, and his somewhat criminally-oriented activities as a young adult are simply incredible to read. It’s survival. It was his and his friends’ means to have food in their mouth and a roof over their heads. (He does apologize to all the artists whose music he had ripped off.)

I was particularly affected by parts 1 and 2, his early years and school years. He inserted one to two informative pages in between these chapters to give background on how things came to be. These pages are educational even if the reader is familiar with the tragic apartheid years. And they interwove with his life story immensely well. Throughout these years, his mom, an abandoned child herself who clawed her way to independence, had such an influence on his young mind, keeping him aware of the larger life out there. Even though she can’t outright give him opportunities, at least he’s aware to never hold himself back, which is more than what most parents give their children, especially in the limited environment they were in. By golly, she’s incredible. It’s been said and I completely agree, this book is Trevor Noah’s love letter to his mother. Hang on to your chair on the last chapter though, I damn near fell off the chair and sweated my way through those words. No quotes provided.

If you like his show, please read the book. You will undeniably appreciate the life that made him into the man that he is today. As for me, now I really want to meet his mom. She’s AMAZEBALLS.

On Religion – I wondered the same damn thing!
“…For a long time I didn’t understand why so many black people had abandoned their indigenous faith for Christianity. But the more we went to church and the longer I sat in those pews the more I learned about how Christianity works: If you’re Native American and you pray to the wolves, you’re a savage. If you’re African and you pray to your ancestors, you’re a primitive. But when white people pray to a guy who turns water into wine, well, that’s just common sense.”

On Apartheid:
“Apartheid was a police state, a system of surveillance and laws designed to keep black people under total control. A full compendium of those laws would run more than three thousand pages and weight approximately ten pounds, but the general thrust of it should be easy enough for any American to understand. In America you had the forced removal of the native onto reservations coupled with slavery followed by segregation. Imagine all three of those things happening to the same group of people at the same time. That was apartheid.”

On Race as Chocolate:
“As a kid I understood that people were different colors, but in my head white and black and brown were like types of chocolate. Dad was the white chocolate, mom was the dark chocolate, and I was the milk chocolate. But we were all just chocolate. I didn’t know how any of it had anything to do with ‘race’…”

On Racism and education:
“…The difference between British racism and Afrikaner racism was that at least the British gave the natives something to aspire to. If they could learn to speak correct English and dress in proper clothes, if they could Anglicize and civilize themselves, one day they might be welcome in society. The Afrikaners never gave us that option. British racism said, ‘If the monkey can walk like a man and talk like a man, then perhaps he is a man.’ Afrikaner racism said, ‘Why give a book to a monkey?’”

On being in the ghetto:
“…So many black people had internalized the logic of apartheid and made it their own. Why teach a black child white things? Neighbors and relatives used to pester my mom. ‘Why do all this? Why show him the world when he’s never going to leave the ghetto?’ ‘Because,’ she would say, ‘even if he never leaves the ghetto, he will know that the ghetto is not the world. If that is all I accomplish, I’ve done enough.”

On being chosen and wanted (he’s 24 now):
“…he got up and went and picked up this book, an oversized photo album… ’I’ve been following you.’… It’s a scrapbook of everything I had ever done…
I felt a flood of emotions rushing through me. It was everything I could do not to start crying. It felt like this ten-year gap in my life closed right up in an instant, like only a day had passed since I’d last seen him. For years I’d had so many questions. Is he thinking about me? Does he know what I’m doing? Is he proud of me? But he’d been with me the whole time. He’d always been proud of me. Circumstances had pulled us apart, but he was never not my father.
I walked out of his house that day an inch taller. Seeing him had reaffirmed his choosing of me. He chose to have me in his life. He chose to answer my letter. I was wanted. Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being.”
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LibraryThing member bookchickdi
Trevor Noah is best known as the new host of “The Daily Show”, but his book “Born a Crime: Stories From A South Africa Childhood” is about his life growing up as the son of a black African woman and white Swiss man in South Africa.

Noah is a terrific writer, and he grabs your attention
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right from the beginning. He grew up when apartheid was ending, after Nelson Mandela was freed from prison, but things didn’t get easier for South Africans right away. There was a strict caste system, and black Africans were pitted against colored Africans, and since Noah was half-white, he didn’t fit in anywhere.

“Born A Crime” gets its title from the fact that it was illegal for blacks and whites to marry, so his parents had to hide their relationship, and Trevor was never allowed to walk next to both of his parents.

The book is a really a love letter to his mom, who pretty much raised Trevor alone, although Trevor spent a lot of time with his grandmother. His stories of childhood are touching, funny and sad.

Anyone who likes a good memoir will enjoy “Born a Crime”. It gives the reader a look at a place many of us are unfamiliar with, yet his story of a mother who worked hard to give her son a better life is universal.
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LibraryThing member melissarochelle
Read from November 15 to 25, 2016

Both a memoir of Trevor Noah's life and a brief history of apartheid in South Africa. Each chapter begins with information about life in South Africa -- the many languages spoken, the mix of tribes and settlers, societal norms in South Africa -- and Noah then
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connects his story to that history/information. The book does not discuss his current life or rise to fame, it is very much about his roots, his childhood, and, most importantly, his mother.
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LibraryThing member deslivres5
Picked up this book for a family member who is a big fan of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. The book was passed back to me within 2 days with the recommendation "You HAVE to read this book. I think you will enjoy it." Well, I took the advice and I found Noah's memoir truly eye-opening. The book,
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laid out in many short chapters each prefaced by a 1-2 page discussion about a particular South Africa topic or personal life theory, was a mixed bag of stories from childhood and adolescence. Some stories were full of sadness, several made me laugh out loud, while others were mind-blowing.
His love of his wonderfully outspoken mother shines through.
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LibraryThing member dreplogle
This was an amazing read. If you only know Mr. Noah from his Daily Show or comedic appearances you will see a whole other side of him here. He's still witty and intelligent but this is his recounting of his childhood living under apartheid, and after apartheid, in South Africa with his mother.
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According to apartheid law and being the child of a white father and black mother, he actually was born a crime. American racism must seem like such a simple construct after what he and his mother lived through. And not only the racism, but the violence and poverty caused by that racism. Imagine walking to school and seeing a burned corpse on the side of the street, and not thinking it was particularly out of place. The domestic violence his mother endured from his stepfather because the local police did not want to deal with it, and took the side of Noah's step-father who ultimately ends up shooting his mother through the head. And yet, what comes through is the strength and love his mother gives him at all times. This is a biography I'm going to remember for a long time.
1 like
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LibraryThing member bostonbibliophile
worth it to read about growing up in South Africa, even if you're not a Trevor Noah fan. I am, so I enjoyed it on both levels.You can hear his voice through his writing; he opens up an alien world and with it shows us a little bit about himself.
LibraryThing member Karen59
I was not impressed with Trevor Noah when he first started the Daily Show. I thought his humor with sophomoric and not particularly funny but a few friends of mine recommended the book so I bit. Wow, I was unprepared for how much I would be taken in by this deep and wise story about Noah's journey
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from boyhood to manhood while living under Apartheid. Not only does he have an incredible story to tell but he does so with verve and wit and although this is clichéd, I literally stayed up all night to read it.

Noah Trevor was born to a black Xhosa mother and a white father. Under apartheid it was criminal for white and Black people to have intimate relations. Noah was hidden indoors and not allowed to walk with his mother in the streets. It was under this regime that Noah grew from boy to man. Isolated from others he became a troublemaker, a risk-taker and was so clever that he could outfox almost anybody. As an adult, after Apartheid he strove to find a place for himself while in a country still ruled by race. He was involved in several activities that were dangerous and trecherous but Noah was hell-bent on living life to its fullest, though he is clear and serious about how often he was afraid.

Born A Crime is not a laugh-out-loud funny book. It is both light-hearted and deep and wise book and his voice is sometimes wry, sometimes passionate, often mischievous and rooted in compassion. IWe understand that he was often fearful, scared for his safety, hungry and lonely. He doesn't pull any punches about that.

Really at bottom, Born to Crime is a great mother-son love story. Noah's mother was fierce, kind, a lover of life, a hard disciplinarian who took enormous risks to protect her son and also to make sure that he participated in every opportunity out there and "no" just couldn't cut it (and this means she made opportunities, not just took them)." She loved him intensely and unconditionally and at the same time reined him in over and over again. I do not if Noah's mother calls herself a feminist but she taught him how to respect, love and treat a woman for all the reasons that really matter.

Thank you to Edelweiss and Spiegal and Grau for allowing me to review this book for an honest opinion.
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LibraryThing member krazy4katz
A humorous look at a painful childhood at the transition between apartheid and "freedom". Only a comedian could leave you laughing in the midst of all this tragedy. There were also fascinating insights into the South African multicultural society. Highly worthwhile read.




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