Book Review: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Born A Crime by Trevor Noah is one of the most enjoyable books I’d ever gotten my hands on.

I spotted it displayed at my favorite bookstore, and due to the fact that I am a Trevor Noah’s fan, I just had to grab it and make my purchase.

The moment I started reading, it was impossible to stop. The pages kept turning and I found myself wanting more and more.

And I was fully aware that I was reading some guy’s stories. Not some fantasy with dragons and knights.

Trevor started chapters in his life with a random introduction to a topic. The first one started after an explanation of what apartheid was – apart hate, he called it, so that we the readers would understand what he would then talk about.

Afterwards, he let us into his story, his background, being born into a mixed genetic pool during the time of apartheid. He was already illegal when he was born, and that was the first identifier he got wherever he went.

“I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t an outcast. I was everywhere with everybody, and at the same time I was all by myself.” -Trevor Noah

Every chapter had its own topic, its own cultural message and a lot of other things. To help us understand the setting better, to help us see what was going on in each time stamp, and to educate us in some ways, these informative introductions served me well. These informative pages then help us transition into a chapter from the previous, and help us get Trevor’s messages more clearly. In each chapter, Trevor learned a lesson, which he then shared in his writing.

And we got to learn about his relationships, what hurt and lifted him up, and how he got to be the person he is today.

All of which, are always closely linked to his mother, Patricia. Thus, it made perfect sense that the book started and ended with her. Trevor never failed to keep the consistency in his narration, that the one person who kept him going, his main drive, was his own mother.

“My mother used to tell me, ‘ I chose to have you because I wanted something to love and something that would love me unconditionally in return.’

I was a product of her search for belonging. She never felt like she belonged anywhere.” -Trevor Noah

We got a good glimpse of who Patricia was, and how her character shaped Trevor into the person he became. She came to life in his writing, and you could see that nobody loved her like her son.

It was beautifully written, and hilariously done. I found myself laughing so hard until it was hard to breathe. There were many moments in Trevor’s life that I’d love to watch on screen. There were many moments so unfortunate that I wondered how in the world he could turn those losses into jokes.

You can feel Trevor’s personality, see his mind works, and hear his voice in the words. You can appreciate his optimism and attitude towards life. He did not have the greatest childhood, but Trevor made the best out of it. He didn’t sit and weep over what he lacked, he survived and thrived with what he had.

Of course the notes on history and cultures that he added before every chapter were greatly appreciated. I loved those. It was as if I was reading the best history textbook ever written. I was learning history, cultures, as well as a lot of life lessons.

That isn’t something I find in just any book.

“Love is a creative act. When you love someone you create a new world for them. My mother did that for me, with the progress I made and the things I learned, I came back and created a new world and a new understanding for her.” – Trevor Noah

Easy to say, I was devastated when the book ended. I actually thought I would cry. This book is quite a powerful one. But I passed it onto my mom right away, so that she could read it as well before passing it to my big brother.

And let me just say, that I wasn’t the only one thoroughly impressed by this masterpiece.

Born A Crime is a 9/10. It’s a place I’d revisit over and over again. It’s going to sit in the shelves, so close to me, so that whenever I need some life lessons or a wake up call, it’s within my reach.

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