Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

by: Trevor Noah

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/ 5 Stars

My Read Time: 5 days
Originally published: November 15, 2016
Author: Trevor Noah
Page count: 304
Genre: Autobiography
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Biography / Autobiography
Audie Award for Best Male Narrator

Who I Would Recommend This Book To: Anyone

This may be one of the best books I have read in a while – and I’m not just saying that because it is written by one of my favorite comedians, Trevor Noah. Based on his life, this autobiography educates about the history of South Africa while informing you about the author and the experiences that shaped him into who he is today.

Raised by his mother, Noah shares stories of his childhood into adulthood. Throughout the book, you fall more and more in love with his mother – the real star of the story. As I read more about the lives and culture of South Africans in the past, I couldn’t help but find many unfortunate resemblances to the culture of Black Americans today. From dealing with colorism and racism to crime and domestic abuse, the stories shared will keep you on the edge of your seat. Although some parts of his story are intense, Noah keeps you laughing as you read. There were parts in the book that made me laugh out loud, but also parts where I gasped in shock and made me stop and ponder on what I knew to be true.

A true story of courage and strength, this book is a must-read. If you are looking for an intelligent and insightful story, this book is for you.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • “Because there were some black parents who’d actually do that, not pay their kids bail, not hire their kid a lawyer – the ultimate tough love. But it doesn’t always work, because you’re giving the kid tough love when maybe he just needs love. You’re trying to teach him a lesson, and now that lesson is the rest of his life.”
  • “That’s what apartheid did: It convinced every group that it was because of the other race they didn’t get into the club. It’s basically the bounce ar the door telling you, “We can’t let you in because of your friend Darren and his ugly shoes.: So you look at Darren and say,”Screw you, Black Darren. You’re holding me back.” Then when Darren goes up, the bouncer says, “No, it’s actually your friend Sizwe and his weird hair.” So Darren says, “Screw you, Sizwe,” and now everyone hates everyone. But the truth is that none of you were ever getting into that club.”
  • “The history of colored people in South Africa is, in this respect, worse than the history of black people in South Arica. For all that black people have suffered, they know who they are. Colored people don’t.”
  • “That experience shaped what I’ve felt about relationships for the rest of my life. You do not own the thing that you love. I was lucky to learn that lesson at such a young age.”

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