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Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

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The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. 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 m The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. 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 eighteen personal essays 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. Source: penguinrandomhouse.ca


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The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. 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 m The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. 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 eighteen personal essays 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. Source: penguinrandomhouse.ca

30 review for Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    This was fantastic. Born a Crime, at over six months, is the longest library hold I've ever waited for. Normally, if I hadn't already lost interest by that point, I'd just break down and buy it, but I'm generally not a big memoir reader, so I was reluctant to spend money on a book I wasn't sure would be my thing. Well, I've ended up buying it anyway. And my husband and I are currently laughing our way through the audio version, too. I just couldn't put this book down. There are many moments of com This was fantastic. Born a Crime, at over six months, is the longest library hold I've ever waited for. Normally, if I hadn't already lost interest by that point, I'd just break down and buy it, but I'm generally not a big memoir reader, so I was reluctant to spend money on a book I wasn't sure would be my thing. Well, I've ended up buying it anyway. And my husband and I are currently laughing our way through the audio version, too. I just couldn't put this book down. There are many moments of comedy gold (that come across even better on audio, but still drew out-loud laughter when I read them in print) and lots of insight into what it was like growing up in South Africa under the later years of apartheid, and after its collapse (which I prefer reading in print so I can take my time to appreciate the gravity of the issues). Trevor Noah covers a lot of serious issues like colonialism, apartheid, being an outsider, religion, education, gender roles and more. He talks about how his mother - who comes across as the rugged heroine of his story - played the system well to get her illegal "colored" child into better schools and neighborhoods, and how this often led to him having difficulty fitting in. I learned things that, though perhaps not surprising, were horrifying, such as how police refused to file charges in cases of domestic violence because they sympathized with the husband. It's a book about important issues in a country that has, throughout history, largely been portrayed through the eyes of white journalists and writers, but it's also such a warm, lovable, funny book in many ways. Born a Crime is the perfect blend of sociopolitical discussion and a personal tale of family, friendship and first crushes. It is written as a series of short essays, each around a certain theme and not in chronological order, but this actually makes it all easier to digest. Noah's writing is so engaging that I would think "just one more essay" until suddenly a hundred pages had gone by and I realized I might be addicted. Definitely one of the best memoirs I've ever read. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    I'd rate this 4.5 stars. I was really surprised when Trevor Noah was named Jon Stewart's successor on The Daily Show . I inherently knew that they wouldn't pick someone with a sense of humor and style identical to Stewart's, but I felt that Noah was so different that his selection meant the show would have a really different feel, which might not appeal to long-time fans of the show. But I always root for the underdog, so as he was getting savaged by critics and fans in his first few days on the I'd rate this 4.5 stars. I was really surprised when Trevor Noah was named Jon Stewart's successor on The Daily Show . I inherently knew that they wouldn't pick someone with a sense of humor and style identical to Stewart's, but I felt that Noah was so different that his selection meant the show would have a really different feel, which might not appeal to long-time fans of the show. But I always root for the underdog, so as he was getting savaged by critics and fans in his first few days on the job, I kept hoping he'd be able to tough it out and show the stuff—comedic and otherwise—of which he was made. After reading Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood , I realize that I needn't have worried about Trevor Noah. For a child growing up in South Africa in the last days of, and the tumult following apartheid, he faced crises far greater than dissatisfied fans. And if he could be raised during such a crazily illogical time in a country where more violence, racism, and mistreatment went unreported than caught the media's eye, he'd have no problem skewering the insanity of our political system, especially leading into the election of 2016!! "On February 20, 1984, my mother checked into Hillbrow Hospital for a scheduled C-section delivery. Estranged from her family, pregnant by a man she could not be seen with in public, she was alone. The doctors took her up to the delivery room, cut open her belly, and reached in and pulled out a half-white, half-black child who violated any number of laws, statutes, and regulations—I was born a crime." Born to a black Xhosa mother and a white Swiss father, Noah literally spent his earliest days hiding indoors. His parents, who never married, couldn't be seen together, and because his mother looked so different than he did, she couldn't walk through the streets with him, because at any moment someone might accuse her of kidnapping another person's child. Yet while their lives dealt with crushing poverty, violence, and racism from all sides, his deeply religious mother never let anything bother her, or stop her from raising her son to know he was loved, and to know that he truly could accomplish anything he wanted, despite all of the obstacles in his way. "She taught me to challenge authority and question the system. The only way it backfired on her was that I constantly challenged and questioned her." Born a Crime provides a first-hand account of the last days of apartheid and its aftermath, and what it was like to grow up as a mixed-race child, where he wasn't white enough to be considered white, nor was he black enough to be considered black. While at times this had its advantages, for the most part, it left him on the outside looking in, having to handle everything on his own, fight his own battles, struggle to find people who genuinely liked him for who he was and not the novelty of his skin color, and rebel against a mother who only wanted him to behave. If you go into this book expecting to laugh hysterically because of Noah's day job, think again. While the book does include some of the wry humor that has begun endearing him to fans, this is an emotional, brutal, and educational story of a life which flourished despite the odds stacked against it. This is a book about growing up in a culture of poverty and crime, and how easy it was to get caught up in that, especially when it was one of the only ways to make money and be able to feed, clothe, and enjoy yourself. It's also a book about fear, how it motivates you, how it paralyzes you, and how it threatens to take away the one thing you cherish more than any other. More than anything, though, this is a book about the unwavering love of a mother for a child she chose to have. She knew it would be difficult raising her son in the age of apartheid, and in fact, she had no idea when he was born that it would end anytime soon. But Noah was a remarkable child, and while he exasperated, frightened, and upset his mother from time to time, she knew he would accomplish great things one day (as soon as he stopped putting cornrows in his hair and hanging out with those awful hoodlums he called friends). I enjoyed this book and learned a lot about apartheid, which I really didn't know much about. Noah is a good writer, and delivered his narrative much as I've heard him deliver his lines on The Daily Show . This is a funny, thought-provoking, and emotional book, although I felt that some of his anecdotes went on a little too long, while others didn't go on long enough. I also would have liked to have learned how he went from his upbringing in South Africa to one day hosting an acclaimed television show—other than passing mentions of things he did, I have no idea how he made the leap. I've heard some people say that the audio version of this book is brilliant because Noah reads it himself, but if you read the print/digital version, you can still hear his voice through his words. Noah's story is a lesson of the inequities of the past, and a warning for what is still possible to happen again in our world. But this isn't heavy-handed; it's fun, insightful, and very compelling. See all of my reviews at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blo..., and see my list of the best books I read in 2016 at http://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2016.html.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Petra X

    These stories, beautifully written, are set in a world quite like our own but at the same time utterly different. Maybe "through a glass darkly". Who goes to church three times on Sunday to Black, White and Coloured ones? Who goes to jail for (not) stealing a car rather than face the wrath of his mother? Who gets a prom date with the most beautiful girl around, but one who doesn't speak the language and is extremely unsociable to boot? None of these things are extraordinary in this world, Who cou These stories, beautifully written, are set in a world quite like our own but at the same time utterly different. Maybe "through a glass darkly". Who goes to church three times on Sunday to Black, White and Coloured ones? Who goes to jail for (not) stealing a car rather than face the wrath of his mother? Who gets a prom date with the most beautiful girl around, but one who doesn't speak the language and is extremely unsociable to boot? None of these things are extraordinary in this world, Who could perform rap at a Jewish school to a wildly-enthusiastic audience and create deadening silence in one second asking respect for Hitler? Repeatedly. I'm not going to spoil this one. It's a brilliant story, very funny, and sadly critical too. Two worlds collide, black and white, and neither understand why the other is so offended. (view spoiler)[If you'd really like to know and aren't going to read the book, IM me. (hide spoiler)] In what world can a man standing in front of a policeman not be identified on the video they are both watching of his best friend shoplifting and he with him? But he isn't. Because of the exposure of the video the black figure appeared black but the coloured one, Trevor, appeared white. The police were unable to link in their heads the features of the man on the screen with the one in front of them who was a suspect, because he was white. These South African policemen were blinded by their prejudice. Which was rather lucky for Trevor, and he is our hero. He's mine anyway. This is a fascinating book that will take you deep into the world of the non-white life of South Africa mostly since apartheid ended. It's funny and tragic, heart-warming and wtf did you do that for. It's tribal and urban and mostly very third world. It's quite something to incorporate all those elements and boast only in ways that are more to do with accomplishment than with ego. But if you don't like politics this isn't for you. Every single incident no matter how funny, how light, and they aren't all, drives home that race decides everything in South Africa. I listened to it in the car. The audio is brilliant. narrated by the author (which is why I got it on audio, that's one of the great advantages of the media listening to an author tell his own tale.) It's a 10-star biography.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Maxwell

    If you're going to read this book, definitely listen to the audio version. Trevor Noah is one of the most effortless narrators I've ever listened to. It genuinely feels like he is sitting down with you and telling you his life story. Not only that, but you get to learn quite a bit about pre- and post-Apartheid South Africa from the perspective of someone who hypothetically shouldn't exist. Noah's mother is black and his father is white, and when he was born any mixed-race relationships were ille If you're going to read this book, definitely listen to the audio version. Trevor Noah is one of the most effortless narrators I've ever listened to. It genuinely feels like he is sitting down with you and telling you his life story. Not only that, but you get to learn quite a bit about pre- and post-Apartheid South Africa from the perspective of someone who hypothetically shouldn't exist. Noah's mother is black and his father is white, and when he was born any mixed-race relationships were illegal. I was instantly intrigued by his story, not only because of this unique perspective but also because he is such a wonderful storyteller. I do think the chronology of the book was a bit strange at times—one chapter would be from his childhood and then the next would jump to his teen years, and back. And at the end of each chapter there was always a short snippet that completely changed directions and had pretty much nothing to do with the previous chapter (maybe in the physical copy of the book that section is identifiably set apart?). Nonetheless, this was a great listening experience, one that was enlightening, hilarious, heartbreaking, frustrating and well told. Would highly recommend.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    Before I start my review, I want to take a minute to praise Trevor Noah's stand up shows because they're one of the few that don't rely on being ignorant. His shows are one of the enlighten ones focusing on race, white-privilege, police brutality, hate speech, prejudice, and so much more. I’d highly recommend watching a few before reading this riveting memoir. In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah takes us on a journey from his childhood being born a crime in apartheid South Africa. Trevor was born to a w Before I start my review, I want to take a minute to praise Trevor Noah's stand up shows because they're one of the few that don't rely on being ignorant. His shows are one of the enlighten ones focusing on race, white-privilege, police brutality, hate speech, prejudice, and so much more. I’d highly recommend watching a few before reading this riveting memoir. In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah takes us on a journey from his childhood being born a crime in apartheid South Africa. 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. This memoir 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. Side note: Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah - his mother - was a powerhouse, a strong woman in every sense. She's a warrior and I only wish I could be a half of the person she is. Also, I love the advice she gave her son—I even wrote a few pieces down to remember: “Abel wanted a traditional marriage with a traditional wife. For a long time I wondered why he ever married a woman like my mom in the first place, as she was the opposite of that in every way. If he wanted a woman to bow to him, there were plenty of girls back in Tzaneen being raised solely for that purpose. The way my mother always explained it, the traditional man wants a woman to be subservient, but he never falls in love with subservient women. He’s attracted to independent women. “He’s like an exotic bird collector,” she said. “He only wants a woman who is free because his dream is to put her in a cage.” This passage had pretty much changed the way I think, the way I precept the world. “She’d tell me not to worry. She always came back to the phrase she lived by: “If God is with me, who can be against me?” She was never scared. Even when she should have been.” The piece stuck with me. Truly though, this memoir was enlighten, brimming with emotion, and I love it when children pay tribute to their hard-working mothers. “There was no stepfather in the picture yet, no baby brother crying in the night. It was me and her, alone. There was this sense of the two of us embarking on a grand adventure. She’d say things to me like, “It’s you and me against the world.” I understood even from an early age that we weren’t just mother and son. We were a team.” My mind and heart were fully transported while reading everything Trevor went through to get to where he is today and everyone that took part of that journey. And even though some of the stories kind of broke my heart, Trevor Noah always managed to bring in his gold humor to ease the tension. There are a couple of chapters that have taken a hold of my soul and won’t let go because either they were extremely hilarious (TREVOR, PRAY & LOOPHOLES) or entirely heart-shattering (MY MOTHER’S LIFE)... or both. Slowly and surely, I came to admire Trevor Noah's character and honesty even more than I did before. And I'm pretty sure that I'll end up watching and rewatching his stand-up shows so that I can stop tearing up at the mention of his name. ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 5/5 stars *Note: I'm an Amazon Affiliate. If you're interested in buying Born a Crime, just click on the image below to go through my link. I'll make a small commission!* Support creators you love. Buy a Coffee for nat (bookspoils) with Ko-fi.com/bookspoils This review and more can be found on my blog.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zoë

    4.5/5 Trevor Noah was a great narrator and had the ability to turn the grimmest of experiences into smart, exciting stories. If this book interests you, I urge you to listen to the audiobook! It was fascinating learning about his life growing up as a mixed race child in pre- and post-Apartheid South Africa. Though I learned vague facts about Apartheid in high school history classes, this was the best lesson I've had on the subject. The book skips around non-chronologically, which confused me at tim 4.5/5 Trevor Noah was a great narrator and had the ability to turn the grimmest of experiences into smart, exciting stories. If this book interests you, I urge you to listen to the audiobook! It was fascinating learning about his life growing up as a mixed race child in pre- and post-Apartheid South Africa. Though I learned vague facts about Apartheid in high school history classes, this was the best lesson I've had on the subject. The book skips around non-chronologically, which confused me at times as he introduces aspects of his earlier years later on in the story, but I remained captivated. I was so into it that, instead of working on the paper that's due soon or studying for my upcoming exam, I read this book in less than 24 hours. Worth it! I will say that this probably could have been a tad shorter as he has the tendency to repeat and over explain aspects, but I highly enjoyed it nonetheless.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elyse

    An audiobook *treasure*! Trevor is a likable! A charming- guy!!! Listening to him speak is almost magnetic. Being thrown out of a car? By his own mother? OUCH! Trevor had my attention in the palm of his hands. The ongoing - ongoing - and ONGOING ....dramatic stories Trevor shares about his childhood --were life lesson building blocks. Trevor did the building!! He used every life experience to his advantage-- and that's extraordinary! Poverty, abuse, Religious upbringing, crazy chaotic living con An audiobook *treasure*! Trevor is a likable! A charming- guy!!! Listening to him speak is almost magnetic. Being thrown out of a car? By his own mother? OUCH! Trevor had my attention in the palm of his hands. The ongoing - ongoing - and ONGOING ....dramatic stories Trevor shares about his childhood --were life lesson building blocks. Trevor did the building!! He used every life experience to his advantage-- and that's extraordinary! Poverty, abuse, Religious upbringing, crazy chaotic living conditions, a powerhouse one-of-kind mother....Trevor is a thriving survivor!!!! We also get an excellent intimate understanding: .....of the rigid former policy of segregating and economically and politically oppressing the non-white population.... from the direct experience of Noah being born in South Africa during the laws of apartheid. A child who was often guided to play indoors, ( hiding), a 'positive' lifetime result 'today' is that Trevor says he can sit and enjoy his own company for days on out. He is never bored! .... sadness of course - tragic times -horrific injustice..... but Trevor Noah is warm - charming -filled with love and light!!!! Funny too!!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Masterson

    Five HUGE Stars for Trevor Noah's book! Believe the hype! I absolutely loved it. I listened to the audio. Trevor narrates his stories of growing up in South Africa. I highly recommend the audio version. He made this book come to life with his narration. This would actually make a good first listen. I just became a fan recently of his and thought I'd give the book a shot. I'm so happy I did! I learned a lot about apartheid and I learned a lot about South Africa. I also learned some gross facts lik Five HUGE Stars for Trevor Noah's book! Believe the hype! I absolutely loved it. I listened to the audio. Trevor narrates his stories of growing up in South Africa. I highly recommend the audio version. He made this book come to life with his narration. This would actually make a good first listen. I just became a fan recently of his and thought I'd give the book a shot. I'm so happy I did! I learned a lot about apartheid and I learned a lot about South Africa. I also learned some gross facts like the poorest of people eat worms. At one point he and his family were so poor that they were eating them. Yuck! Trevor had me laughing. Trevor had me crying. Highly recommended to fans of his and/or people who just want to learn about life in South Africa during apartheid. Great book!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    The author is very charismatic and if you're going to read this book, I would recommend the audiobook since he narrates it!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Warda

    “I soon learned that the quickest way to bridge the race gap was through language.” Where do I even begin to explain how incredible this autobiography was?! Trevor Noah brought this story to life, but ultimately, it was his mother that was the main character, the MVP, of this book. You all know what this book is about: Trevor Noah is narrating his account on being raised in Apartheid South Africa. The issues growing up as a mixed-race child and a mother who defied all societal standard and called “I soon learned that the quickest way to bridge the race gap was through language.” Where do I even begin to explain how incredible this autobiography was?! Trevor Noah brought this story to life, but ultimately, it was his mother that was the main character, the MVP, of this book. You all know what this book is about: Trevor Noah is narrating his account on being raised in Apartheid South Africa. The issues growing up as a mixed-race child and a mother who defied all societal standard and called bullshit before anyone even dared do it. Colonialism. Poverty. Race. Living under a police state. Privilege. Whilst reading, I was aware these kind of ludicrous laws existed, but it still managed to shock me all over again. This was a world where interracial marriage was banned. Where Trevor could not be seen with either his mother or father. Where white people were put on such a pedestal, his grandmother refused to discipline him, because she ‘didn’t want to kill a white person.’ Where animosity was purposely sowed between people so the whites could be looked at for help. Yet, the blacks could never dream of getting to that social status. Where the American Dream was dangled in front of them. Though his world was completely different from our own, Trevor Noah still managed to make it relatable. His relationship with his mother was a delight to read. His desperation to fit in called to others. His first kiss. Trying to take the most beautiful girl to prom. Everything going disastrously wrong and beautifully twining that wisdom and lessons that he learned on the way. I just became enamoured with his mother though. The strength she possessed was almost not human. I‘m pretty sure it’s not human. Her faith played a massive part in solidifying her personality and it was incredible to see her overcome troubles that would make others (me!) crumble with humour, love and Jesus. Trevor Noah is honestly a gem. We have his mother to thank for that. I highly recommend the audiobook for this. I didn’t even touch the book once and it gave me hope in trying other audiobooks. It was completely engaging story, intimate, heartbreaking and provided you a front-seat view into Apartheid and what it did to the lives of others. I cannot wait for the movie adaptation!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This is great! I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it. A celebrity memoir by a mixed-race guy who was born in South Africa under apartheid didn’t sound like it would be a smart, funny, and charming pleasure to read, but it is. Not that he minimizes the circumstances, but there more fact than lamentation. It’s a shame about those people who don’t enjoy audiobooks. His performance adds to fantastic storytelling. The stories from his childhood reminded me of something Art Linkletter said about the c This is great! I wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it. A celebrity memoir by a mixed-race guy who was born in South Africa under apartheid didn’t sound like it would be a smart, funny, and charming pleasure to read, but it is. Not that he minimizes the circumstances, but there more fact than lamentation. It’s a shame about those people who don’t enjoy audiobooks. His performance adds to fantastic storytelling. The stories from his childhood reminded me of something Art Linkletter said about the children chosen for the “Kids Say the Darndest Things" segment of his show. “It asked the dear teachers to give us the four children they would most like to have out of the class for a few blessed hours. The teachers would laugh and send me the rascals.” Not that that little Trevor was a bad kid, he is just one of those people that belong on a stage. He was a bit conflicted when exhorted to pray for God to kill the demon who had done the bad thing. ”Dear Lord, please protect us, um, you know, from whoever did this, like, we don’t know what happened exactly and maybe it was a big misunderstanding and, you know, maybe we shouldn’t be quick to judge when we don’t know the whole story and, I mean, of course you know best, Heavenly Father, but maybe this time it wasn’t actually a demon, because who can say for certain, so maybe cut whoever it was a break…” I love his mother. Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah While this is Trevor's story, but it very much a loving tribute to her.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Margitte

    An amazing story of a young man and his mother who went around the block a few times and beat the odds. Despite a few inaccuracies in his tale, it remains a well-told story that kept me reading and reading until the very end. Trevor Noah has that intelligent kindness like an astral light around him. He has that look of wisdom and experience in his eyes which allow people to like and want to listen to him. He is a gentle soul. I guess he can thank his mom for that. She was on his case, saving his An amazing story of a young man and his mother who went around the block a few times and beat the odds. Despite a few inaccuracies in his tale, it remains a well-told story that kept me reading and reading until the very end. Trevor Noah has that intelligent kindness like an astral light around him. He has that look of wisdom and experience in his eyes which allow people to like and want to listen to him. He is a gentle soul. I guess he can thank his mom for that. She was on his case, saving his soul since the day he was born. Trevor Noah starts out his book with his usual irony. He establishes a high-speed tone that promises a suspense thriller on the spot. He was thrown out of a car and it was not a Hollywood movie at all ! From there he introduces his mother and grandmother which sets the tone of this book. My whole family is religious, but where my mother was Team Jesus all the way, my grandmother balanced her Christian faith with the traditional Xhosa beliefs she’d grown up with, communicating with the spirits of our ancestors. 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. ... My mom didn’t want my mind polluted by movies with sex and violence. So the Bible was my action movie. Samson was my superhero. He was my He-Man. A guy beating a thousand people to death with the jawbone of a donkey? That’s pretty badass. He shares his personal story with so much wit and candor. Some incidences were so funny I just sat back and laughed and laughed. But then there were the moments of pain and sadness, so intense, that I felt like standing in his aura and hearing his thoughts before he expressed them. Tragic, yet destined to turn out to be miracles in the end. He shares many aspects of South African history and culture as background to his story, which enhances the experience for the reader. His sense of humor is always ready to jump in at the most unexpected moments. It was really a great read! As background to Trevor Noah's story, I want to provide a few tidbits of information. "Apartheid" was an American concept that was applied to the South African landscape. Not many people realize that. When the Americans thought it a good idea to provide reservations for the indigenous people, the South African government thought is was a brilliant idea as well and follow it up with their own interpretation. When Americans thought there should not be social interaction between races in public premises, the South Africans followed suit. Black-only bus stops serviced Black-only buses. Black-only ambulances stopped at Black-only hospitals. Black-only education was provided at Black-only schools and universities. Beaches, bridges, swimming pools, washrooms, cinemas, benches, parks and even burial grounds were all segregated. Interracial marriages were strictly forbidden. Black people had their own magazines, newspapers, authors, journalists, movies, artists, musicians, music concerts, businesses and communities. Many wealthy Black people lived in the separated areas (there were even a wealthy black suburb called Beverly Hills in SOWETO) and made a good living. Black lawyers, doctors, teachers, and religious leaders served their own community. For instance, Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe both studied at the University of Fort Hare and finished their further studies at other universities, such as the universities of the Witwatersrand(WITS) and South Africa(UNISA). Their training were subsidized by the Apartheid government. They enjoyed free education as a result, while the White community had to pay for everything. Trevor Noah himself could have gone to university on the same principles with even more bursaries available to him than there were for white people. It is still the case. Biggest issue: Black people were denied the vote. His 'Hitler' story also lacked insight into the Afrikaner history (and neither did he knew about the HOLOCAUST and the Jewish experience). Trevor and his young adult friends were simply ignorant young men doing their own thing. Of course he did not have to know it, since it was never part of his own life. He described the Afrikaners's "love" for Hitler, but did not know how it worked. The Afrikaners lost their families in the Anglo-Boer war in which Britain followed a scorched-earth policy, leaving the Afrikaner farmers bankrupt and their families destroyed, dead in the concentration camps. The impoverished farmers abandoned their farms, which were immediately grabbed by the British government and handed over to British soldiers as payment for their services against the Afrikaners during the war. When the world declared war against Hitler, a small group of embittered Afrikaners organized themselves into a rebellion to assist Hitler against Britain. They simply hated the English. They would join any country declaring war against England. However, the vast majority of Afrikaners joined Britain in combat against Hitler. My father was one of them. We are from German descend. The South African soldiers, the majority being from the Afrikaner community who joined Great Britain were all descendants of the French, Dutch and German. They were joining the English forces who were shipped from the British colonies at the time. I just wanted to clear that up. Trevor and his mom were not part of the elite. They lived in the moderate, poor areas where workers and entrepreneurs felt at home. I was so happy that he mentioned the cultural cuisine. The 'smileys' he mentioned, sheep's head, are still highly popular. There are even sheep head clubs in the country. His revolt for sheep's eyes, which is also something to fight and die for by the dedicated eaters, had me almost falling off my bed with laughter. I cannot stand it either, although my husband and his farmer friends would make sure they can all enjoy it by buying themselves enough sheep heads for their club meetings and ensure nobody misses out on the eyes! Yes, be strong, dear friends. We could all have been like that, so don't laugh! ;-) "Walkie-talkies", which he did not mention, are the heads and feet of chickens, which are also popular delicacies in the Asian communities. Trevor Noah's mom, however, knew it was the only dish that would get him to stay home for dinner instead of going out and enjoy his beloved Macdonalds. And then there is the 'Marogo' which he enjoyed, which I grew up with. It is a healthy weed, cooked like green beans with potato and unions, and normally enjoyed as a side dish, heaped onto 'mieliepap' (maize porridge). You're simply not South African if you have not eaten Marog and pap! It taste like spinach with a creamy effect. He took me back to my own childhood days, in a different time and place of course, but the nostalgia of that time came rushing over me while reading this book. We had so many happy moments, despite circumstances, and like Trevor, we as children never knew about Apartheid. Adults did not talk about it. It was quite a revelation when we finally grasped the meaning. We were the generation who brought it to en end. His story is so inspirational. A feel-good experience. I can only congratulate him and wish him all the best in the world He deserves it. And, most importantly, he will make it. You gooooo Trevor!!!! Thank you for the wonderful memories you shared. You made this world a much better place to be in, just by being you and sharing your heartfelt, often funny story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Book Riot Community

    I’m joining the club of other Rioters who have read and loved this one. Something you should know about me: memoirs are NOT my jam. I can count on one hand the memoirs I’ve read and enjoyed, so I was honestly shocked by how much I loved reading Born a Crime. Noah can tell a story like nobody’s business, and very often his tales weave tragedy and comedy together in the best way imaginable. I also have to admire Noah’s bare-bones honesty; he really doesn’t front at all. If you’re the type of perso I’m joining the club of other Rioters who have read and loved this one. Something you should know about me: memoirs are NOT my jam. I can count on one hand the memoirs I’ve read and enjoyed, so I was honestly shocked by how much I loved reading Born a Crime. Noah can tell a story like nobody’s business, and very often his tales weave tragedy and comedy together in the best way imaginable. I also have to admire Noah’s bare-bones honesty; he really doesn’t front at all. If you’re the type of person who wants a book that can make you laugh and cry in public, this is the one you’ve been looking for. — Tasha Brandstatter from The Best Books We Read In February 2017: http://bookriot.com/2017/02/28/riot-r... ____________________ Never have I experienced such alternatively intense emotions as I have listening to this book, where Noah recounts stories of his childhood in truly terrible conditions with humor and matter-of-factness. I had moments where I felt crushed by the realities of Apartheid, wondering how humans can be so cruel, followed by long stretches of laughter where I must have looked batty while driving, such was my delight in a chapter about sneaky pooping (and the aftermath). I’m talking crying laughing, gasping for air, and then eased back into some more sobering tales of close calls, losing friends, running from those who threatened him or his family. It’s only January, but this book is absolutely in my personal top 5 for the year. If nothing else, Born a Crime speaks in universals about human experiences, even simple things like learning to speak someone else’s native language and reaping the social benefits. It’s just set in a world that’s very far from my own. –Kristina Pino from The Best Books We Read In January 2017: http://bookriot.com/2017/02/01/riot-r... ____________________ He might be the baby-faced host of The Daily Show, but he was also raised a mixed-race child during Apartheid. Listening to him narrate the story of his childhood and all of the dangers that came with his very existence showed me that he’s a lot more than Jon Stewart’s slightly-less-beloved replacement. I may be frustrated recently with his call for other people of color to be moderate in their reactions to the incoming administration, but getting a bit of insight into the pain and tragedy he suffered at the hands of similarly-minded people was informative for me and has changed the way I view him. — Elizabeth Allen from The Best Books We Read In December 2016: http://bookriot.com/2017/01/03/riot-r...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    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 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 v 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 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!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~

    Once again, I decided to read something from the non-fiction/biography genres. Partly because I adore Trevor Noah as a person. Partly because I love Trevor Noah's voice & appreciate when authors tell their own stories, both fictional and non-fictional. & Partly because I want to try and get more comfortable with reads like this that are outside of my normal realm. In this Trevor tells many stories from his childhood in South Africa. He is funny, well-spoken, and insightful as he discusse Once again, I decided to read something from the non-fiction/biography genres. Partly because I adore Trevor Noah as a person. Partly because I love Trevor Noah's voice & appreciate when authors tell their own stories, both fictional and non-fictional. & Partly because I want to try and get more comfortable with reads like this that are outside of my normal realm. In this Trevor tells many stories from his childhood in South Africa. He is funny, well-spoken, and insightful as he discusses how being the product of a white Swiss father and a black South African mother both worked for and against him, depending on the situation. This was an excellent book, though I wish he hadn't jumped around on his timeline as much as he did. It wasn't really a big deal but I sort of had trouble keeping up with the chronological order of the events he was describing. I would very much recommend this for everyone, even if you don't particularly like Trevor Noah! My friend Michael talks about how much he enjoyed the book in his review, despite not being the author's biggest fan.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Iris P

    Born a Crime Funny guy- The very charming Trevor Noah ********************************************* "People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing." Trevor Noah ********************************************* By the time Trevor Noah was born in 1984, Apartheid, the system that institutionalized segregation an Born a Crime Funny guy- The very charming Trevor Noah ********************************************* "People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing." Trevor Noah ********************************************* By the time Trevor Noah was born in 1984, Apartheid, the system that institutionalized segregation and racial discrimination in his native South Africa, was already in its last throes. But young Trevor still got to experience plenty of the negative effects of that horrific system. The relationship between his black African mother and his white Swiss father, was legally prohibited by the 1927 "Immorality Act", a crime that could carry up to 5 years in prison. These laws were not a mere abstraction, they were actively enforced by the authorities. Noah did a good job at giving us a condensed version of the history of Apartheid. He explains how it was used to create fissures among the black population, and give us an insider's perspective of the real life consequences it had in the lives of millions of people. My sense is that this book was written with a Western audience in mind, so he takes the time to compare Apartheid to similar repressive movements in other parts of the world, such as the removal of Native Americans, European Colonialism and Slavery and the Jim Crow era in America. On this topic he remarks: "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." Baby Trevor growing up in South Africa The issue of race is a complicated one and Noah acknowledges how being biracial was a source of distress and confusion, while at the same time protected him and enhanced his social status. Personally I can relate to this. Colorism was something I encountered in the society where I grew up. Having a lighter skin didn't guarantee success, but it certainly helped remove a potential obstacle and it opened doors that otherwise could have remained closed. And yet, young Trevor frequently felt like an outsider, tolerated but not fully accepted. This started to change once he moved from her family home and started looking for ways to make a living. From his mother, he inherited an entrepreneurial spirit and started making some money by utilizing his many skills; he was multi-lingual, good with technology and had a knack for mixing music that his peers loved. If necessity is the mother of invention, Trevor and his fellow hustlers were the embodiment of that maxim. Eventually things turned bad when he became involved in petty crimes and got in trouble with the law. I think the most important chapter of this book is the one where Noah describes the social dynamics of the "hood" and how difficult it is for a kid without a support system to break the cycle of poverty and violence. "We tell people to follow their dreams" he says,"but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited." Trevor's mother is the one constant and positive presence in his life, a deeply religious, strong woman who taught him to "challenge authority and question the system". By the end of the memoir he realizes that she more than anyone, is the person he can count on. She is his saving grace. There are plenty of funny moments and hilarious anecdotes on Born a Crime, so it would be tempting to categorize this as just a rag-to-riches, pull up by your bootstraps kind of story. In reality though, Noah has written a profound account about his humble beginnings, the pervasive presence of violence in his home and his country at large, and his own racial identity crisis, the result of having been born in a place where the frequent reaction to a person of mixed race was astonishment, contempt or both. The fact that Noah was able to overcome such a difficult upbringing it almost miraculous and reason enough to read his story. But I think his views on poverty, racism, domestic violence are also worth listening to, mainly because he has the emotional scars to prove his credentials as a reliable witness. This is a very moving memoir that will make you laugh and cry, but I trust that it will also leave you with a good dose of optimism.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Malia

    I was lucky to see Trevor Noah speak about this book recently, and the way he talked about his story, and his life growing up in South Africa made me all the more eager to read it! The book is a cohesive collection of stories from his childhood and early adulthood, and though I am not typically a reader of much non-fiction, I found this book truly compelling and hard to put down! Noah has a way of really drawing you in, and making you feel as though you are there with him, experiencing his memori I was lucky to see Trevor Noah speak about this book recently, and the way he talked about his story, and his life growing up in South Africa made me all the more eager to read it! The book is a cohesive collection of stories from his childhood and early adulthood, and though I am not typically a reader of much non-fiction, I found this book truly compelling and hard to put down! Noah has a way of really drawing you in, and making you feel as though you are there with him, experiencing his memories and seeing South Africa during and after apartheid as he did. He doesn't glorify himself and doesn't shy from describing certain flaws in himself, his family and the world he grew up in, which makes it seem very real and believable, and makes me wish I knew even more. I have never visited South Africa, but I felt like a true armchair traveler reading "Born a Crime", and learning about the way of life of "ordinary" people, instead of monumental historical figures like Nelson Mandela. I liked how Noah gave character to individual neighborhood I had never heard of, but can now visualize with a sense of greater understanding. His descriptions of the people in this book make them come to life, especially his mother, who raised Noah under difficult circumstances and to whom the book is dedicated. She is such a central character, if you will, of this book, and Noah doesn't sugarcoat her actions or mentality, which sometimes made it difficult for me to fully understand the devotion he felt toward her, when she so often put him down, beat him, and forced him to accept that her second husband and father of Noah's two younger brothers was a violent, deeply unpleasant man, whom she did not leave until it was almost too late. This was difficult to read, at times, but definitely served to paint a truly vivid image of her and of their, sometimes fraught, but ultimately loving relationship. The explanation of segregation and divides between race were another element that fascinated me about this story, especially in light of the racial tensions that have arisen in society and culture recently, made more visible through social media and the fast pace of news (though they have obviously been there a long time). I knew, of course, of the way apartheid worked, and the extreme division and misery it created, but I did not know of the many different classifications that existed within African communities themselves, that "colored" people, as Noah describes those of mixed race, were not included in black communities or white communities, and that he, being the son of a white man and a black woman, never felt he fit in properly. It is interesting to read about this, and though the book is set in Africa, I think it is, in a way, quite timely, and well worth reading, if only to see that change for the better can happen. Segregation and racism exist everywhere, and therefore people must collectively work against it to create societies that value tolerance and diversity. This was a well-written, thought-provoking book and I would recommend it to fans Trevor Noah, or even those who have never heard of him, but what to be entertained, and learn something in the bargain. Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I consider myself an unofficial expert on celebrity memoirs. I haven't read all of them (although I would like to - even the stupid ones, because I am incredibly nosy and devour celebrity gossip the way other people devour Dorritos or fake news), but I've read a fair amount, and they usually follow a typical narrative arc. In BORN A CRIME, Trevor Noah takes that arc, flattens it out, and beats you over the head with it. I love Trevor Noah. I Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest I consider myself an unofficial expert on celebrity memoirs. I haven't read all of them (although I would like to - even the stupid ones, because I am incredibly nosy and devour celebrity gossip the way other people devour Dorritos or fake news), but I've read a fair amount, and they usually follow a typical narrative arc. In BORN A CRIME, Trevor Noah takes that arc, flattens it out, and beats you over the head with it. I love Trevor Noah. I love what he brings to The Daily Show. I think he's incredibly funny, intellectual, erudite, and charming. I also think he's cute, but that's neither here nor there. I actually first learned about him through his (in)famous video with "she who shall not be named" (no, not Voldemort's sister - but close). I was really impressed by how he went about the interview. That could have been really ugly - but it wasn't; it was a somewhat civil discourse between two opposing views, about why the political beliefs of a certain demographic can be incredibly problematic. When I found out that this Trevor Noah person, this cool political cucumber, had a memoir out, I immediately put myself on hold for it at the library. Unfortunately, so did about a billion other people. It took two freaking months for me to finally get my hands on BORN A CRIME. Normally, when I wait that long, I start to lose interest and by the time I get the book I sometimes forget why I even bothered to put it on hold in the first place. Not so, here. Trevor Noah's memoir is not like other memoirs because he doesn't talk about his "famous" life at all. BORN A CRIME is about Trevor Noah's childhood growing up in South Africa while it was still under apartheid. He talks about slavery, segregation, racism, poverty, domestic violence and abuse, and all manner of other troubling topics, but he does it in a way that, while not exactly unpleasant, never becomes so graphic or unpleasant that I had to put the book down and take a deep breath. At times, he even manages to make the terrible situation he's describing funny, which is truly a testament to his amazing sense of humor. There's a lot more I can say, but most of it would just be recaps from the memoir and more praise about Trevor himself. I really, really loved this book. It kind of reminds me of another memoir I read about a biracial man, THE COLOR OF WATER by James McBride, but I feel like BORN A CRIME is going to be a lot more accessible because a) he's a pop-cultural icon, b) Noah's book is broader in scope in terms of topics discussed, and c) he's a millennial so his language will resonate with a lot of people, especially the young bloggers, who are reading and reviewing this book. Read this book. It was totally worth waiting for two months for. 5 stars

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah is a 2016 Spiegel & Grau publication. I’ve been a fan of Trevor Noah since he started hosting ‘The Daily Show’, but after reading this book, I’m an even bigger fan. I admit I know virtually nothing about South Africa other than the absolute obvious, like what is reported in the news. So, Trevor gives readers like myself a bit of a history and a maybe a civics lesson too, in how people are divided by class and race and the th Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah is a 2016 Spiegel & Grau publication. I’ve been a fan of Trevor Noah since he started hosting ‘The Daily Show’, but after reading this book, I’m an even bigger fan. I admit I know virtually nothing about South Africa other than the absolute obvious, like what is reported in the news. So, Trevor gives readers like myself a bit of a history and a maybe a civics lesson too, in how people are divided by class and race and the thought process or mindset of those who live in this country. Noah is of mixed race, born right before the end of apartheid, which made his birth illegal because whites and blacks were not allowed to have intercourse, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. Despite his unique heritage, and his early isolation, Trevor’s mother provided him with an unconventional upbringing, one that obviously shaped him into the man and the success he would become as an adult. So, while this book is a memoir centered around Trevor’s childhood memories, and is an enlightening peek into the culture of South Africa, what I took away from this book was how much his mother loved him, how her parenting influenced him, made him strong, taught him respect, and protected him from serious missteps. I think, in his way, this book is not only a collection of Trevor’s vivid childhood memories and experiences, it’s an ode to his mother. These stories are often hysterically funny, but of course there are few difficult passages, too. But, overall, I enjoyed this book all the way from start to finish. Trevor’s voice is fresh and real, and his stories seem to come from his heart, showing a deep affection for his mom, detailing his adventures, both good and bad, with wry wit and humor that captured my heart and imagination. Trevor Noah is a wonderful comedic talent, but he’s proven he can write with equal success. I hope he continues to drop by the book world from time to time and of course wish him much luck with his hosting duties on ‘The Daily Show’. 4.5 stars

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Overall, Born a Crime is a fascinating story, but the loose editing and too casual a writing style meant it lacked narrative cohesion for me, so it's a solid 3 star review. Trevor Noah's childhood memoir definitely showcases his fresh, witty perspective and provide a lot of history and context of life under apartheid and life just after the end of apartheid, from a macro level of the forces and powers at work and warring against each other, to the micro level of Trevor and his family's experienc Overall, Born a Crime is a fascinating story, but the loose editing and too casual a writing style meant it lacked narrative cohesion for me, so it's a solid 3 star review. Trevor Noah's childhood memoir definitely showcases his fresh, witty perspective and provide a lot of history and context of life under apartheid and life just after the end of apartheid, from a macro level of the forces and powers at work and warring against each other, to the micro level of Trevor and his family's experiences in that time. I've visited South Africa before and felt I knew a decent amount about the country's culture and history, but Noah really brought to light intricacies of daily life and nuances about how different groups interacted and experienced each other under and after apartheid. Noah's family is mostly seen in brief anecdotes and sketches, but his mother is a central figure and the most compelling character we encounter. Her faith, her hustle, her perseverance, and her sense of humor are palpable in Noah's writing, and we are shown the complex but very loving relationship between Trevor and his mother expand and grow over the years. Because the anecdotes and stories are presented in a non linear fashion, it can be difficult to get a fix on sense of time and when things are happening for Trevor and his mother and brothers. It also chops up the narrative flow, which meant that I was less interested in Trevor's own story since it kept hopping around in the timeline, and more interested in his family story and the larger context about how his race/color was being constantly perceived and redefined by different groups, and also by himself. As a multiracial American, I could relate to many aspects of Trevor's own shifting identity for himself and his peers, but many other aspects were completely foreign and indeed eye opening for me. The casual way Trevor narrates is both a highlight and a fault: it definitely jumps off the page is being securely in his voice, so it has a true feeling of authenticity. But it also has an effect of little editing and a lack of polish, so where other memoirists link events within a larger narrative framework and immerse you in the story AND the writing, here it's more disjointed, less cohesive, so you appreciate some of the parts more than the sum of their parts. And not all of the individual anecdotes feel fully worthy of inclusion. And the ending feels less like a natural ending and more like Noah ran out of steam (though the final story of the attempted murder of his mother is powerful and scary and was probably hard to write). Ultimately if you're a fan of Trevor Noah, or are interested in a unique perspective that unites childhood under and after apartheid with larger historical and social context of South Africa, Born a Crime is a solid choice. It's an easy read, but it took me longer than usual to finish since I was not really engaged with the non linear narrative and the style and format of the writing itself, though the subject matter was interesting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    I really liked this book about Trevor Noah's childhood in South Africa. I listened to this on audio, narrated by the comedian himself, and I appreciated his frank storytelling. I enjoyed his memories of his mother and grandmother, and the details of the various scrapes he got into as a kid. It was especially enlightening hearing what his mother went through just to be able to see his father, who was Swiss. Because interracial relationships were forbidden under apartheid, they had to be clever to I really liked this book about Trevor Noah's childhood in South Africa. I listened to this on audio, narrated by the comedian himself, and I appreciated his frank storytelling. I enjoyed his memories of his mother and grandmother, and the details of the various scrapes he got into as a kid. It was especially enlightening hearing what his mother went through just to be able to see his father, who was Swiss. Because interracial relationships were forbidden under apartheid, they had to be clever to get around the rules and avoid suspicion. I would highly recommend Born a Crime to anyone interested in reading about what it was like to live under apartheid. However, if you want to hear about how Trevor made his way to America and eventually became the new host of The Daily Show, you'll have to wait until he writes another book. This one focuses on his family and growing up in South Africa. As a reader, I appreciated the emphasis on his childhood. The celebrity part of his life can be written later. **Warning: Strong Opinions Ahead.** In a strange way, this book was actually a comfort to me during a difficult time. I read Born a Crime shortly after the U.S. presidential election, in which a man with no government experience and who frequently made sexist, racist and dictatorial statements was declared the winner over an extremely qualified woman, despite the fact that the man lost the popular vote by 2.8 million, and the knowledge that Russia interfered with our so-called democratic election. To say I was angry and depressed after that election is an understatement. But fortunately I had Trevor Noah's book downloaded, and heard about the horrible conditions of apartheid. (Everything is relative, folks. At least we aren't headed back to the days of separate bathrooms and drinking fountains.) His elders would caution Trevor against being angry all the time, saying that it wasn't productive. Trevor's book also reminded me that positive change still happens, even when things seem darkest. Apartheid eventually ended, and the Donald won't be president forever. Must. Stay. Positive. Favorite Quotes "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." "Where most children are proof of their parents' love, I was the proof of their criminality." "I grew up in a world run by women." "Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. A shared language says 'We're the same.' A language barrier says, 'We're different.' The architects of apartheid understood this. Part of the effort to divide black people was to make sure we were separated not just physically but by language as well ... The great thing about language is that you can just as easily use it to do the opposite: convince people that they are the same. Racism teaches us that we are different because of the color of our skin. But because racism is stupid, it's easily tricked. If you're racist and you meet someone who doesn't look like you, the fact that he can't speak like you reinforces your racist preconceptions. He's different, less intelligent ... However, if the person who doesn't look like you speaks like you, your brain short-circuits because your racism program has none of those instructions in the code." "I learned to use language like my mother did. I would simulcast -- give you the program in your own tongue. I'd get suspicious looks from people just walking down the street. 'Where are you from?' they'd ask. I'd reply in whatever language they'd addressed me in, using the same accent that they used. There would be a brief moment of confusion and then the suspicious look would disappear. 'Oh, okay. I thought you were a stranger. We're good then.'"

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Quann

    The only thing I knew about Trevor Noah prior to this audiobook was his status as host of The Daily Show, a show that I don't watch. Also, celebrity autobiographies: not really my thing (barring the odd exception). But that title demands curiosity: how can someone be born a crime? So, I picked up the book in a bookstore, read the dust jacket, and thought Hey, this seems like it might be good. I then put the book down and promptly forgot about the whole thing. Of course, then I began to see it p The only thing I knew about Trevor Noah prior to this audiobook was his status as host of The Daily Show, a show that I don't watch. Also, celebrity autobiographies: not really my thing (barring the odd exception). But that title demands curiosity: how can someone be born a crime? So, I picked up the book in a bookstore, read the dust jacket, and thought Hey, this seems like it might be good. I then put the book down and promptly forgot about the whole thing. Of course, then I began to see it popping up on best-of-the-year lists and the reviews started to pour in from you intrepid Goodreadians. Soon after, my monthly audible credit arrived just in time for another road trip to outport Newfoundland. I gave the audio a 30 second sample and, impressed by Noah's decision to narrate his own tale, decided to take a small gamble on the audiobook. It's lovely when a gamble pays off, isn't it? Look, I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time waxing lyrical about this book, I'm just going to give it to you straight: listen to this one. This book is great in a way that makes me question how other celebrities manage to fill their books. Noah's lived in a way and world that few of us can imagine, and he's cobbled together a series of stories about his time in South Africa that all oddly fit together into a great overarching tale. There are stories of hardship, musings on apartheid and race relations, profound moments of self-discovery, and tense, heart-pounding scenes. Oh yeah, it's also relentless funny. I mean, Trevor Noah's a comedian after all! Here Noah uses humour to great effect to contrast with the hopeless and absurd in equal measure. Bolstered by his narration, the tale glides from one story to the next, Noah doing splendid voices for his family members and friends when appropriate. The whole thing feels like sitting down with a buddy over a few beer: the stories walk zig-zagging trails toward hilarious punchlines that also betray subtle bits of personal philosophy. Touching, funny, and endlessly compelling, you've just got to give this one a go. Preferably in audiobook format as Noah's narration adds an essential layer to the proceedings.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Taryn

    Trevor Noah is a South African comedian who currently hosts The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Born a Crime is about growing up in South Africa: living under apartheid when his existence was evidence of a crime, life after apartheid, the deep bond between a mother and son, the unique challenges of growing up mixed race, and living with an abusive stepfather. It's filled with humor and biting social commentary, but the main words that describe this book are insightful and heartfelt. I was already Trevor Noah is a South African comedian who currently hosts The Daily Show on Comedy Central. Born a Crime is about growing up in South Africa: living under apartheid when his existence was evidence of a crime, life after apartheid, the deep bond between a mother and son, the unique challenges of growing up mixed race, and living with an abusive stepfather. It's filled with humor and biting social commentary, but the main words that describe this book are insightful and heartfelt. I was already a casual fan, but this book can be read by anyone since his career is barely mentioned. People are willing to accept you if they see you as an outsider trying to assimilate into their world. But when they see you as a fellow tribe member attempting to disavow the tribe, that is something they will never forgive. Born a Crime is a collection of stories from Trevor's life with a generally linear timeline. There was a tiny bit of jumpiness-- occasionally there would be something mentioned that would be elaborated on in another story. Overall, I really liked the format because there was no filler. Each chapter worked on its own and had a clear lesson, so I viewed them each individually. Trevor was always getting into trouble growing up and some of the chapters are about his antics. While these stories are hilarious on their own, he also places these anecdotes within a wider social context. I've read a few books by South African authors this year and I wish I would've read this one first! Of all I've read and seen on the topic, this is the one that made the history 'click' the most. Each chapter is preceded by either historical or personal context. He also puts everything in perspective for outsiders: "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." It's a good reminder of the similarities between cultures and institutions, even though the specifics may vary. Love is a creative act. When you love someone you create a new world for them. My mother did that for me, and with the progress I made and the things I learned, I came back and created a new world and a new understanding for her. Trevor was born to a black mother and a white father during a time when sexual relations between the two were strictly forbidden by law. He couldn't even walk beside his parents in public. It was interesting to read how he interpreted these events as a child. He describes the complicated rules enacted to keep an illogical system functioning and trying to find his place in a world with such defined boundaries. His close relationship with his mother was one of my favorite parts of the book. He describes his mother as a rebel and I loved reading about how she subverted the system! She raised Trevor to know that there was no limit to what he could accomplish: “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.” He reveals the wisdom she imparted that made him the man he is today. Like his mom, he has a remarkable ability to adapt. I could also see where he gets his sense of humor! Even in one of the most tragic moments of the story, she's able to joke around. Though his father isn’t in the book as much, the chapter about him and the gift of being chosen is one of the parts that hit me the hardest. 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. 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. Born a Crime is an insightful memoir that strikes the perfect balance of historical and personal. I learned a lot and it gave me a better context for what I already knew. It made me laugh and cry. I know I love a book when I'm giving everyone around me daily updates! If you are interested in the subjects addressed in this book, you might be interested in the short article Inner City by Lauren Beukes. Her short story collection Slipping is coming out in November, which features some stories about South African culture. People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” ____________ I received this book for free from NetGalley and Spiegel & Grau in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. The publication date is November 15, 2016.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Khush

    'Born a Crime' is a fast-paced narrative of Trevor Noah's life. I knew nothing about Trevor's background except that he is an American celebrity. I liked his talk shows, like million others. His story comes as a huge shock. Looking at him today, I find it hard to believe that he went through so much, so early in life. Actually, what I see in him today is intelligence, cat-like agility, and talent to connect with others. I liked reading about his childhood. He was clever and resourceful, and even 'Born a Crime' is a fast-paced narrative of Trevor Noah's life. I knew nothing about Trevor's background except that he is an American celebrity. I liked his talk shows, like million others. His story comes as a huge shock. Looking at him today, I find it hard to believe that he went through so much, so early in life. Actually, what I see in him today is intelligence, cat-like agility, and talent to connect with others. I liked reading about his childhood. He was clever and resourceful, and even as a child he would run small, profitable ventures in his school. His quickness in thinking things, and then working upon them is impressive. As a reader, I saw he is everything that I am not. But I liked reading about his unfamiliar, fascinating world. The book is written in conversational style. He writes the way he speaks. The narrative flow remains smooth throughout the book. However, there are also a few things about the book that I found annoying. His depiction of his father – there is nothing wrong with that man. He is white, fair (and everything else that come with 'whiteness'). His father did everything fine. Trevor describes him as Swiss, fair and precise (as if being Swiss, automatically, makes him all that). He is portrayed as a man who so kindly gave his sperm to an African woman who so badly wanted to have his child. He submits to her hunger and fulfilled her need like a benign Christian missionary. I guess being 'a fair man' he should have known the consequence of such an act; he should have known the power imbalance between him and the woman. He should have known that the burden of raising the child would only be on her. He should have thought about the child who would grow fatherless. But the fair precise, democratic, non-racist man fucked and then disappeared. He was just Robert to Trevor, someone who was nice to him on Sundays and Christmas holidays, and on all those days when he was not giving in to hungry black women his Swiss, precious, and fair sperm. I did not fully comprehend his mother's character as well. In parts, I liked her. What I liked the most that Trevor loves his mother. Only Trevor's love for her is her true recommendation. In the memoir, there are many things that I did not understand. Even though he is his mother's fan, one cannot help thinking about her in a negative light. Clearly, she thought that whiteness is somehow better than her own culture. It is not stated in the book and I am not sure if Trevor realized that himself while he wrote the book. Throughout the book, the way her mother raises him it sounds like his mother is white trapped in a black body: 'clean your room' 'do the dishes' 'help me in the kitchen.' Now when one looks at the world around him; his grandparents, cousins, neighbors, I did not understand where his mother's values were coming from. There is nothing wrong with those things, in fact, all children should be taught lessons in self-reliance. But this very conscious distancing from one's own culture, and one's people could be dangerous when it is done to inhabit 'whiteness' to strengthen one's position in society. On so many occasions, I feel troubled by the dynamic of mother-son relationship. The very things they condemn are the things they want to be. The book tells us a lot about apartheid. But it only talks about black people. What happens to them: drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, domestic violence, prison. Almost all the stereotypes of blackness come true. And somehow 'whiteness' remains in the background – invisible. The book delineates the stories of victims, but the perpetrators are nowhere on the scene. They manage to remain unseen, fair and precise. This is bizarre in the context of South Africa. For instance, Trevor, as a child, feels the hideousness of Abel, his mother's black boyfriend, much before he actually becomes violent (Children are quick to learn the prejudices of the adults, of society). As for Robert, his own biological father, Trevor absolves him of bringing him into the world like a dirty secret. In others words, 'black crimes' are crimes; 'white crimes' are merely enforcement of laws. The black man tries to absolutely possess the women. When he fails, he shoots her in the head – and then gives himself in. The white man shoots her with his sperm without committing anything. Knowing well that it was not just sex, that it would have consequences. But he goes ahead, and then abandons her – and the not yet born child.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Within the first twenty pages of this book, I regretted just two days earlier writing the sentence “Trevor Noah, while smart and funny, doesn't feel like a must-watch” while lamenting how much I miss Jon Stewart. This is perhaps the most remarkable celebrity memoir I’ve ever read. I am a hyperbolic person by nature, but I’m really hard pressed to remember one that’s made this big an impression on me. Not just because of the content--which is at times heartbreaking and mindblowing--but also becaus Within the first twenty pages of this book, I regretted just two days earlier writing the sentence “Trevor Noah, while smart and funny, doesn't feel like a must-watch” while lamenting how much I miss Jon Stewart. This is perhaps the most remarkable celebrity memoir I’ve ever read. I am a hyperbolic person by nature, but I’m really hard pressed to remember one that’s made this big an impression on me. Not just because of the content--which is at times heartbreaking and mindblowing--but also because of the humor and warmth with which Trevor Noah’s managed to convey some very difficult life experiences. Born in South Africa in the mid '80s, Trevor Noah’s very existence as a biracial child was illegal. Even though apartheid fell while he was still a child, he faced unique challenges due to his ill-defined racial identity. He stood out as light-skinned in the poverty stricken black neighborhoods, but that didn’t mean that he was spared the poverty or the prejudice faced by anyone who wasn’t white. Noah introduces each of his stories with a little bit of background information on the political climate and culture of South Africa. Then he describes different phases of his life through that lens, looking at how his childhood friendships, early attempts at romance, and a sometimes turbulent family life: His mother remained single by choice until Noah was around 10, then she married a man with a violent temper and he lost touch with his birth father. It’s not all bleak, though. Some of the stories are just about the hi-jinks that a teenaged Noah got into with his friends. It should not surprise you to know that he was a bit of a troublemaker and a hustler in his youth. But even when he’s describing some unimaginable difficulties, Noah managed to make me laugh SO MUCH. His solution to his fear of using an outhouse shared by several other families in his grandmother’s neighborhood? Ridiculous. The time that he didn’t realize that his date to the school dance didn’t speak the same language as him? Hilarious. His response to his mother throwing him out of a moving vehicle because she was afraid that the driver of the minibus was going to kill them? Shouldn’t be funny, but it was. But, the story that killed me was the one where he realized just how problematic his friend Hitler’s name is. This is the kind of book that knocked my worldview around a little bit. I always knew that, yes, life under apartheid was hard, but Noah showed me just how hard, in a very visceral and personal way. He also showed how the shadow of apartheid lingered long after Nelson Mandela walked free, something that’s easy to forget. But what he really does so well here is demonstrate the power of human resilience. He gives so much credit to his mother, which seems to phenomenally deserved. But as amazing a portrait as he paints of her, I’m left with a newfound respect for Trevor’s own ability to overcome and succeed against the odds. And to do so with a straight head and an amazingly funny sense of humor? Blows my mind. I gotta start watching The Daily Show every night again.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    ETA: The more I think about this book after having finished it, the more annoyed I become. I have changed my rating to one star. I did not like this book. What tipped the balance for me is the "Go Hitler" chant. The author's explanation was not adequate and I found the whole episode inappropriately drawn. ****************** I was perpetually annoyed while reading this book. Perhaps this is my own fault. I misunderstood what its central focus was to be. It is less a book about growing up in South ETA: The more I think about this book after having finished it, the more annoyed I become. I have changed my rating to one star. I did not like this book. What tipped the balance for me is the "Go Hitler" chant. The author's explanation was not adequate and I found the whole episode inappropriately drawn. ****************** I was perpetually annoyed while reading this book. Perhaps this is my own fault. I misunderstood what its central focus was to be. It is less a book about growing up in South Africa than about adolescence, a dysfunctional family and physical abuse. In addition, I did not like the writing style. The first section of the book does offer a bit on South African history but only in sweeping terms. Apartheid practices are viewed through personal events. We see how race and religion came to shape the author’s life. The book does not follow a strictly chronological order, and I found this at times confusing. The central portion of the book deals with the author’s adolescence. Here the writing mirrors adolescent emotions. It is filled with swear words and smart aleck expressions. We hear of his problems with acne, dating and not fitting in. Drinking, hip-hop dancing, a disastrous prom night, bootlegging of CDs and DJ parties may interest others, but not me! I came to understand the author and the strong bond he felt for his mother, but his mother’s behavior is not covered with adequate depth. While her strong religiosity is emphasized, these beliefs do not always fit well with her other life choices. This left me puzzled. The final events of the book take a very dramatic turn. Ending on this note a reader may feel drawn to express sympathy and compassion. Does the exciting conclusion and the horror and sympathy all readers come to feel influence one’s rating of the book? My rating is based solely on my evaluation of the book and does not reflect the compassion I came to feel for the family. The humor did not make me laugh, and I found the author’s philosophical generalizations sophomoric. There is an all too long section on defecation. I found this disgusting. It should have been removed or at least shortened! The conjoining philosophical commentary is ridiculous. It is stated that when we defecate we are all on equal terms. Wow, I am terribly impressed with such remarkable wisdom. I am being sarcastic! The author reads his own audiobook. The reading is clear and easy to follow. I think by listening to his words one better understand his emotions and what he wishes to convey. I thought the book would have much more about life in South Africa and less about physical abuse in a dysfunctional family. The dramatic ending may appeal to some. The central portion will most certainly appeal more to young than to mature readers.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This was very enjoyable in audio, and I'm not sure what my experience would have been in print. Trevor Noah writes about his childhood growing up "colored" in South Africa, which you will learn, as a reader to this book, how that is different from white or black or Indian. Despite studying apartheid in school (or so I thought) I had no clear concept of the complexity of the system, intentionally designed to put people at odds with one another. Trevor Noah was quite a character, running from his This was very enjoyable in audio, and I'm not sure what my experience would have been in print. Trevor Noah writes about his childhood growing up "colored" in South Africa, which you will learn, as a reader to this book, how that is different from white or black or Indian. Despite studying apartheid in school (or so I thought) I had no clear concept of the complexity of the system, intentionally designed to put people at odds with one another. Trevor Noah was quite a character, running from his mother and selling bootleg music. He has some deeper experiences such as an abusive stepfather, but most of the book is just about everyday life with the backdrop of the politics as they touched his life. Of interest to me, while a minor element of the book, is some comparison between South Africa and other countries in the way they approached native populations, how they educate their current students on their past, and what lingers today.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Didi

    OMG! This has got to be the BEST audiobook I've listened to all year. Trevor Noah reads his life story with passion, gusto, and unflinching accuracy. As a listener the best thing is to hear all the names and languages pronounced correctly, as well as hearing the way he imitates his family members. Touching, humorous, and sad, Trevor Noah finds exactly the right words to talk about poverty, the hatred of apartheid, but most of all the love he has for his mother and the love she has for him. His m OMG! This has got to be the BEST audiobook I've listened to all year. Trevor Noah reads his life story with passion, gusto, and unflinching accuracy. As a listener the best thing is to hear all the names and languages pronounced correctly, as well as hearing the way he imitates his family members. Touching, humorous, and sad, Trevor Noah finds exactly the right words to talk about poverty, the hatred of apartheid, but most of all the love he has for his mother and the love she has for him. His mother was ABSOLUTELY phenomenal! This is a must listen to of all. You'll learn a lot about South Africa. I'm sure I'll be re-listening to it very soon.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Riley

    This was so fascinating! I loved learning about what it was like to grow up in South Africa. Trevor is such a good storyteller. I was so captivated by everything he said. And he was able to turn very tough experiences into funny stories. I highly recommend listening to this on audio as Trevor narrates it himself and does a fantastic job!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    4.5 stars Trevor Noah, a comedian and the current host of 'The Daily Show' is a very funny guy.....and I expected this memoir to be full of witty jokes. It's not. The book is about Trevor growing up in South Africa when apartheid was coming to an end. Apartheid and it's aftermath left the impoverished black population of South Africa with hard lives and few opportunities. Nevertheless, Trevor infuses his story with hope and humor. Trevor was born in 1984, to a white Swiss father and a black mothe 4.5 stars Trevor Noah, a comedian and the current host of 'The Daily Show' is a very funny guy.....and I expected this memoir to be full of witty jokes. It's not. The book is about Trevor growing up in South Africa when apartheid was coming to an end. Apartheid and it's aftermath left the impoverished black population of South Africa with hard lives and few opportunities. Nevertheless, Trevor infuses his story with hope and humor. Trevor was born in 1984, to a white Swiss father and a black mother from the Xhosa tribe. At that time, apartheid was still in effect and mixing of the races was forbidden by law. Thus, light-skinned Trevor was evidence of a crime. The child - who lived with his mother in a black neighborhood - had to stay hidden inside during his early childhood....lest he be grabbed by the authorities and taken to an orphanage. The dismantling of apartheid in the early 1990's eased the situation for blacks and people of mixed race (classified as 'colored'), and Trevor and his mother - named Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah - embarked on a rather tumultuous life. Patricia acquired secretarial skills and got an office job, which meant the Noahs were a little bit better off than many black South African families. Patricia even had a junky old car which - being a devout Christian - she used to 'schlep' Trevor to three or four different churches every Sunday. When Patricia wasn't working or at church she loaded Trevor into the car and took him to places that cost no money, like parks, picnics, and sightseeing past white people's mansions. Trevor's mom had the attitude "I'm going to give you everything I never had." Patricia made it her mission to provide food for Trevor's body and books for his mind - and to afford this, spent almost no money on anything else. As Trevor describes it: their car was a tin can on wheels; they lived in the middle of nowhere; they had shabby furniture; they changed the channels on their tiny black and white TV with pliers; and they wore clothes from thrift stores. During good times Trevor's family ate chicken, but when times were tough they ate food meant for dogs like 'sawdust' (meat scraps) and 'soup bones.' During one terrible month - when the mechanic business of Trevor's stepfather was failing - the family had to live on marogo (wild spinach) cooked with mopane worms (caterpillars). Trevor describes this as the worst time of his life. Trevor was a self-described 'naughty child' whose high energy level and mischievous pranks got him into lots of trouble. Trevor also loved fire and once burned down the house of a white family. To escape spankings from his mother, Trevor would streak out of the house and through the neighborhood - with Patricia close behind. As a result Trevor became a very fast runner, a talent that would be useful later on - when he had to run away from cops and tough guys. Though Patricia didn't spare the spankings, she punished Trevor 'out of love' - and he reciprocated the affection. Trevor was an enterprising youth and found inventive ways to make money. By the time he was in high school Trevor was selling pirated CDs he made at home - an enterprise that led to deejaying parties in black townships. Trevor also partnered up with a couple of friends to run a kind of 'loan and barter' business, which netted plenty of extra cash for McDonald's, beer, and electronic equipment. On the downside, Trevor never fit in anywhere. Being a light-skinned black, Trevor wasn't accepted by blacks, whites, Indians, Asians, or colored people (most of whom have a complicated ancestry beginning with Dutch settlers and black women). To compensate Trevor made it his business to learn many of the languages spoken in South Africa, including English, Afrikaans, Sotho, Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, and more. This made Trevor a sort of 'chameleon' who could get by with everyone. Trevor also had bad luck with girls, partly because he had terrible acne. Trevor describes several attempts to get a girlfriend, and these tales are amusing....and a little heartbreaking. In high school, for example, Trevor's friend set him up with a beautiful girl named Babiki for the matric dance (prom). Trevor and his friend hung out with Babiki and her sisters for a couple of months before the dance, getting acquainted. Then, on the night of the matric dance, Babiki refused to get out of the car and go inside. Trevor realized - for the very first time - that Babiki couldn't speak English and he couldn't speak Pedi (her language). Ha ha ha. The worst thing that happened in Trevor's life was his mother's marriage to Abel, a car mechanic with a murderous temper and a strong 'master of the house' attitude. Patricia sold her house, quit her job, and impoverished the family to help Abel with his mechanic business....to no avail. Abel was a terrible businessman who drank up the profits and came home intoxicated and abusive. In fits of anger Abel would hit Patricia and slap Trevor around. By the time Trevor finished high school he had to move out. Patricia ultimately left Abel, who eventually became so distraught that he shot her in the head. In addition to his personal story Trevor talks about the evils of apartheid.....how the system purposely fomented discord among black tribes (especially Zulu and Xhosa), impoverished the non-white population, denied non-whites a decent education, left them untrained for jobs, made them feel inferior, took their homes and land, forced them into barren homelands, etc. etc. etc. Trevor touches on how this affected himself, his extended family, and his friends.....and the story is sad, bleak and dismaying. Trevor's mother survived being shot in the head.....and the book ends there. Trevor doesn't talk about becoming a comedian, his show business career, or becoming host of The Daily Show. The program's original host, Jon Stewart, was terrific and I was sad when he left. Still, Trevor is doing a good job (in my opinion). He's personable, smart and funny.....and his impressions and accents are spot on. Trevor makes me laugh every time I watch the show. If Trevor writes a sequel to this book, I'll read it for sure. :) I'd highly recommend the book to fans of celebrity memoirs and to readers interested in apartheid and South Africa. Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy of the book. You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com

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