Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Review: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

by Trevor Noah
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: November 15th, 2016
Purchase: [Amazon] [Chapters/Indigo]
The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of 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

I've been a huge fan of Trevor Noah since his taking over of the Daily Show. The now 32 year old instantly captured my attention with his wit, humor, and his incredible and personable way with people. It was expected that I'd be on board with his first book, Born a Crime, the moment Penguin Random House of Canada announced it at one of their book lover meets at their HQ. What I didn't know, however, or expect rather, was how emotionally moving the series of personal essays would truly be, nor how life changing the experience would become.

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

Trevor Noah's Born a Crime follows the path and tale of a young man born in South Africa, one of whom who's mere existence was a criminal act. Being born to a white Swiss Father and a black mother, something that was punishable by imprisonment, Trevor found himself living in hiding for most of his early life, put under strict rules in order not to be discovered. In this time, we begin to get to know Trevor's young point of view during this trying time, his ups, downs, and even his mischievous side. It was a powerful and moving roller coaster of events, not only about a young boy trying to understand why his existence was so punishable by the law, but also about a mother who would do absolutely anything to protect her son, but also her irrevocable and un-moving unconditional love. It was a positively inspiring and empowering title and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all who not only watch The Daily Show, but to those who inspire to not only change the world but challenge racism and sexism around the world.

5 / 5 Cupcakes

This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.


  1. I loved both him and this book. Great review.

  2. I loved this book!

  3. LOVE him!! He's so hilarious but also so poignant. It's interesting to read about his history and the political forces at work.