Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime is a must read for many reasons. His narration showcases his unique perspective of a childhood influenced by Apartheid and a much broader view of the many different cultures and societies of South Africa. Trevor shares his story, one that was never easy to live, with his own kind of humour. This is part of what makes this book appealing for many readers. Because, though he addresses many serious issues, such as the racism and violence that he witnessed and experienced from a young age, he doesn’t dwell on these things in anger or sadness. He manages to acknowledge their gravity and yet at the same time make fun of them. One example of this is when he is talking about how Christianity was adopted by many Black people, he tells about how white people, when they took over their land, told them to pray to Jesus because he would save them, then he says “The black people were like ‘Well, you’re right, we do need to be saved - from you. So let’s give this whole Jesus thing a shot’”. Born a Crime is a compelling and exciting story about a boy growing up in a world where he is living proof of a crime, punishable by five years in prison. His story has its ups, like moving into one of the rich white suburbs, its downs, such as being reduced to eating caterpillars, its Hollywood-worthy moments, being thrown out of a moving van by your mother, for instance, and all throughout, the far more relatable struggles simply of having to grow up. Trevor Noah’s collection of memoirs is a must read, as it is an intriguing telling of many important issues involving race and discrimination, many of them still existing today.
This review was part of the Battle of the Books competition.
Born a Crime is available at the Nepean High School library.