Born A Crime

Born A Crime

Stories From A South African Childhood

Book - 2016
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"One of the comedy world's fastest-rising stars tells his wild coming of age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Noah provides something deeper than traditional memorists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives. Trevor Noah is the host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, where he gleefully provides America with its nightly dose of serrated satire. He is a light-footed but cutting observer of the relentless absurdities of politics, nationalism and race--and in particular the craziness of his own young life, which he's lived at the intersections of culture and history. In his first book, Noah tells his coming of age story with his larger-than-life mother during the last gasps of apartheid-era South Africa and the turbulent years that followed. Noah was born illegal--the son of a white, Dutch father and a black Xhosa mother, who had to pretend to be his nanny or his father's servant in the brief moments when the family came together. His brilliantly eccentric mother loomed over his life--a comically zealous Christian (they went to church six days a week and three times on Sunday), a savvy hustler who kept food on their table during rough times, and an aggressively involved, if often seriously misguided, parent who set Noah on his bumpy path to stardom. The stories Noah tells are sometimes dark, occasionally bizarre, frequently tender, and always hilarious--whether he's subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty or making comically pitiful attempts at teenage romance in a color-obsessed world; whether's he's being thrown into jail as the hapless fall guy for a crime he didn't commit or being thrown by his mother from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters."--
Publisher: Toronto :, Doubleday Canada,, 2016
ISBN: 9780385689229
Characteristics: x, 288 pages ; 25 cm


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Mar 06, 2018

What a life! So glad I read it.

Seeing life in South Africa and the wild mix of cultures during apartheid from Trevor Noah's perspective as a child through to adulthood is fascinating.
His irreverent, yet spot on descriptions of the inconsistent and rampant racism and it's impacts on the young adults during the time after apartheid officially ended made me laugh.

We are lucky Trevor Noah's survived and became the comedian he is. I swear I heard his voice in my head as I read this!

ehbooklover Mar 03, 2018

I didn't pick this one up because I am a huge fan of Noah's. In fact, other than watching a few clips online, I am not very familiar with him or his show. I had heard great things about this book so I thought, why not give it a shot? And I'm so glad I did! His writing style is wonderfully engaging, it had me laughing out loud at times and feeling very emotional at others. An eye-opening and informative look at what it was like growing in South Africa both during and after Apartheid.

Jcheng1234 Feb 24, 2018

With wit and humor, Trevor Noah, a young comedian from South Africa, told stories of his childhood and teenage years in South Africa. During apartheid, his birth was a crime because his father was white and his mom was black. Being colored in a racist and broken world, it was hard for him to pick a side to belong. His dating in high school; CD pirating business; futile life in the “hood”; experience in the jail and his mom’s miraculous survival after being shot by his abusive stepfather were all very dramatic. One has to admire his deeply religious mom who showed him the better world and by practicing tough love saved him from poverty and violence. It is a fun and hilarious book to read!

Feb 23, 2018

Very interesting and enlightening book about Trevor Noah's early life in South Africa. Eye-opening look at apartheid and the country's slow move out of it. Most interesting to Americans is that Trevor was not considered black nor white but "colored". While very young, he could not even go outside since his appearance implicated his parents in the crime of having sexual relations. Even older, he identified as black but did not fit in anywhere. I could not help but feel sorry for him sometimes but it appears he has turned out ok so far and his mother sounds like an amazing woman.

debwalker Feb 22, 2018

Lupita Nyong’o will star in the adaptation of Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood playing Trevor Noah's mother.

Feb 22, 2018

An extraordinary life told with humour and honesty. As an "illegal" mix of white and black, looking "colored" but not of the Colored community, young Trevor was both all and none of the parts of South African society - and he had to find a way to deal with that....

Feb 17, 2018

I, along with my family, read this book during a trip to Cape Town. It is an easy ready with concise historical information on South Africa history and apartheid. I found reading this book during my visit to Cape Town a great companion to the "Lonely Planet" guide book on Cape Town.

Feb 08, 2018

This book is written in a very simplistic prose, which means I was able to eat it up and it was devoured within an afternoon. The things that I learned about South African society and the impacts of apartheid reading his account of growing up. It was many. I don't necessarily agree with Noah's opinions on everything. Nevertheless, this man has basically lived a very tough life, yet it still had it's moments of connection, love and laughter. I then passed it to my son. Everyone should read it.

Jan 25, 2018

I never expected to love this book the way I do. It was so engaging and interesting and occasionally funny and I learned so much from it. The book on CD was read by Trevor Noah and I believe it really added to my love of the book. If you have never used an audio book before, this is a great book to try for your first time.

Jan 25, 2018

This was one of the most honest and moving collection of stories that I have read in a long time. Trevor Noah’s voice is incredibly engaging, and keeps you completely absorbed into whatever story he is telling. Easily going to be one of the best books that I read this year.

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Mar 06, 2018

People thought my mom was crazy. Ice rinks and drive-ins and suburbs, these things were izinto zabelungu—the things of white people. 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.”

Mar 06, 2018

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.

This quote could be titled 'Christianity, assimilate or else!'

Nov 18, 2017

"In the [neighbour]hood, even if you're not a hardcore criminal, crime is in your life in some way or another. There are degrees of it. ... The hood made me realized that crime succeeds because crime does the one thing the government doesn't do: crime cares. Crime is grassroots. Crime looks for the young kids who need support and a lifting hand. Crime offers internship programs and summer jobs and opportunities for advancement. Crime gets involved in the community. Crime doesn't discriminate." (p. 209)

Feb 21, 2017

The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all.

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Mar 06, 2018

katboxjanitor thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

Sep 21, 2017

green_turtle_2159 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Apr 04, 2017

wrtrchk thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


Add a Summary

Feb 21, 2017

When Trevor Noah was born in South Africa in 1984, his existence was literally illegal, proof that his black, Xhosa mother and his white, Swiss-German father had violated the Immorality Act of 1927, one of the many laws defining the system known as apartheid. The crime carried a punishment of four to five years in prison, and mixed race children were often seized and placed in state-run orphanages. But Noah’s mother was determined and clever, and she managed to hold onto her son, refusing to flee her home country in order to raise him. But it made his childhood complicated, even after apartheid officially ended in 1994. Racial hierarchies and inequities persisted, and despite receiving a good education, his upbringing was anything but easy. In a series of essays, Born a Crime chronicles Noah’s experience growing up under apartheid and its aftermath.


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