Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Let’s be real. A few years ago, I loathed reading Non-Fiction Books. I hated Memoirs even more. It almost seemed like every Tom, Dick and Harry came out with a Memoir. And while there are a tons of Non Fiction Genres I am yet to get accustomed to. I have slowly changed my dislike towards Memoirs. All it took was the right books to get me hooked to the genre. So keep looking you guys! It will definitely be worth it.


Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

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 find Trevor Noah to be absolutely hilarious and he genuinely seems like a ray of sunshine and brings in such a positive vibe. To then read this book and know what he went through broke my heart. But don’t be mistaken, this books is full of funny moments that will make you laugh out loud. It literally puts a humorous blanket on the dark themes.

Apart from his personal story, there is so much to learn about Apartheid South Africa and Racism. I personally feel there is so much of White History we are aware of, while the other always comes as a surprise to me. It’s sad how much we don’t know.

“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, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

“My own family basically did what the American justice system does: I was given more lenient treatment than the black kids.”

Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

It also takes a hilarious take on Religious people in the least non-offensive way. Being an atheist myself, I literally laughed my ass off on some of his monologues. His mother, who is absolutely fearless and such a bad ass is also super religious. Her faith in god that shapes her outlook towards life is rather inspirational.

We also see her struggling with Domestic Abuse and how she deals with certain situations. While, it would be easy to say that she chose that life and get it done. You get to witness first hand why she chose it and how it was never portrayed as a baggage for her child to carry.
His mom is absolute MOM GOALS. Also, Trevor’s love for his mother does not go unseen in this book.

“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.”

Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood

Even though this story is fast paced and entertaining and should be seen through the perspective of a little boy dealing with all the struggles thrown at him and his interaction with South African History. I really hoped we could see more of the political background instead of the usual first kiss, ghetto life and hip music scenes. However, the last chapter hit me right in the head in which he talks about his mother and how the whole system failed her in taking her reports seriously. How his step father went on to literally shooting her in the head and not serve a single day in prison. How being a black woman is a deadly combination to have. Even Today!

RATING: ★★★★

Overall, This book is heart wrenching and is a personal reflection from a unique perspective of literally being born a crime. I have always been a fan of Trevor Noah for his Comedy but now adore his positive outlook towards life.


Published: November 15th 2016
Genre: Nonfiction| Memoir
Pages: 285
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

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