Review: Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

Book cover to Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Noah does what he does best in this memoir. He's earnest, reflective, insightful, and, oftentimes, hilarious (see both his poop story and his Hitler story). The memoir largely covers his life growing up in apartheid and post-Apartheid South Africa as a child and young man as he navigated life as the product of a black mother and white father (hence the title, "Born a Crime" since such things were actually illegal) and the ways that both privileged and challenged him. Beyond that, he shares deep and intimate as well as ridiculous and embarrassing moments of his upbringing. With each moment shared, Noah mixes rich detail, poignant reflection, and intriguing commentary that make each story a gem. And while his side commentary, impressions (if listening to the audiobook), and more humorous tales will keep you laughing, it's his more tender and vulnerable moments (such as establishing a relationship with his absentee father or seeing his mother abused by a step-father) that provides a richness to Noah that gives much more insights into why and how he can continue to be such the powerful comedian and storyteller that he is. Even if one never knew him from The Daily Show, this book could easily make turn a reader into a devotee.

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