In South Africa, an ordinary boy was born a crime. That boy was Trevor Noah. Trevor Noah is an entertainer who started hosting the Daily Show in 2015 after Jon Stewart retired. Trevor was a stand-up comedian and was in a couple of shows and films like Mad Buddies. In the book Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Trevor tells the story of his life starting from being a child who hated going to church to how he became the comedian we know today.
There are tons of childhood stories that Trevor tells in this book, hence the subtitle of the novel. One of these stories explains how he and his mother had to jump out of a moving vehicle while on the way to church because his mom thought the people driving them were going to kill them. If that doesn’t sound like a crazy experience then I don’t know what does.
Trevor was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and is of mixed ancestry, his mother being a black South African and his father being from a Swiss and German ethnicity. Back in 1927, there was an “immorality act” in South Africa that said it was illegal to have a relationship, sleep, or have a child together with a person of another race. So when his mother and father had a child, their child was “born a crime.” In the book, Trevor says that whenever they wanted to go out as a family, his father had to walk on the other side of the road. Being a little child, he would call out to his dad and when he did his mother had to let go of him and act like he wasn’t her child just so they wouldn’t get in trouble.
He was mostly raised by his mom while his dad was rarely around. He says his mom is the reason he’s the man he is today. His mother was extremely religious and practiced all kinds of religious ways while Trevor always hated doing all these religious things like going to three churches on Sundays, prayer meetings, bible studies, and youth church on Thursdays.
This book has a serious tone but also has jokes throughout that make it both entertaining and enlightening to read. Since this was written by a stand-up comedian, you know this book is going to be hilarious. The story of his mother hunting him down like a police chase when he stayed at the arcade and played Street Fighter for too long was so funny I almost cried. When he got older, his mother couldn’t outrun him anymore so being the smart women she was, she would yell thief and the whole neighborhood would tackle him like he had the ball in a football game.
This book shows us that Trevor’s unusual situation was a blessing and a curse. In the beginning, he had a father that was never there and was taught to understand that people were dangerous so he had to do his best to avoid them. Stories about his near-death situations were really sad and shocking! But, Trevor had a loving mother who would teach him all sorts of things like how to overcome obstacles in his life and that God will test you. Now Trevor is a popular entertainer and will make anyone laugh with his jokes about politics and what’s going on in the world. People would love to read this book because it has interesting stories that are funny, surprising and emotionally engaging.