I am a big Trevor Noah fan, ever since I caught his comedy special, African American on my friend’s laptop, I became a huge fan of his, HUGE! Or as president Trump would say it;
Side Note: is just me or do the words President and Trump still sound so wrong when put together?
So, as any normal person who loves to laugh and ahem ahem fell in love with Trevor’s dimples, I went out and bought all his other stand-up comedy specials; Its My Culture, The Daywalker, Crazy Normal, That’s Racist, Pay Back the Funny….. And let’s just say I’m a super fan.
As with the other two reviews I’ve done, HomeGoing by Yaa Gyasi and Eyo by Abidemi Sanusi, I’ll start with the story of how I got this book. I have this friend called Andrew, who gets me books, he got me the previous book I reviewed! And he got me this one too…Drew, I love you, you’re the best.
You all need a Drew! 🙂
Let’s get to it then…..
Trevor was born during the tail end of apartheid to a Xhosa Mother and a Swiss-German Father. Mandela was released when he was 5 years old.
Under apartheid, relations between a white person and a black person was strictly forbidden, but “humans being humans and sex being sex, that prohibition never stopped anyone.”
His parents relationship was a crime that came with strict punishment.
As Trevor notes in the book, “Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality.”
The book delves deeper into his childhood to young adulthood, that he has talked about during his stand-up comedy routine. Like the ass whooping he was always getting from his mother, or the fact that his grandmother never wanted to beat him because, “A black child, I understand. A black child, you hit them and they stay black. Trevor, when you hit him he turns blue and green and yellow and red. I’ve never seen those colors before. I’m scared I’m going to break him. I don’t want to kill a white person. I’m so afraid. I’m not going to touch him.”
Or the times his mother would run after him, he says himself that they had very Tom and Jerry relationship.
And the time his mother was shot. But in this case its more than just anecdotes for a comedic routine.
This book is equal parts funny and sad but also incredibly inspiring and educative as well.
One thing I’m going to take away from the book is to learn how to let go of past hurts.
As I read, I found myself laughing out loud and being moved to tears in some instances.
More than just an unnerving and entertaining story of growing up in apartheid and post- apartheid South Africa (seriously, we thought we had it bad in Uganda) Born a Crime is also about the author’s incredible mother who was a rebel and a survivor. A mother who was not beholden to the past hurts, deprivation and betrayal by her parents but who was determined that her son would not have a childhood like hers and also grow up, not limited by his circumstances. A strong, stubborn, headstrong, deeply religious woman who believed in not sparing the rod and not spoiling the child. She’s a true definition of who an African woman should be.
The whole book is centered around her. Its a love-letter to a truly remarkable woman. It’s as much Trevor’s story as it is his mother’s.
She’s inspired me. Her story has inspired me. 🙂
Verdict: out of 5 stars, I give it 6!