Book Review: Born A Crime

We all know Trevor Noah is funny (and charming and cute), but his memoir offers some insight into the childhood that shaped him into that comedian we all know and love. He has had THE most interesting life. Growing up in South Africa during apartheid would be interesting enough, but when your mother is black and your father is white, it’s not just interesting, it’s a crime. But it doesn’t stop there – we get to learn the wild escapades of growing up under the strong woman who was his mother, a woman who dragged him to three church services every Sunday, who was shot in the head by her husband, who mocked the patriarchal system she married into.

None of this book covers Noah’s rise to fame. There are no crazy stories about him becoming a celebrity comedian and earning tons of money. This, instead, covers his youth in poverty, where he needed to eat caterpillars for a month and once thought it was a good idea to shit on the floor. As Americans, we don’t know many details about life for black or colored people in South Africa (because, make no mistake, they are legally two distinct groups). This book offers unique insight into daily life in the townships, where there is a special jury-rigged transportation system and hustling is a way of life, even for the extremely religious. These are the stories that laid the groundwork for all that amazing comedy.

4 out of 5 stars.