Book Review: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

I had heard so much about this book that when I finally found a free copy at my local public library, I quickly snatched it from the shelf and laid it atop my pile of TBRs. No joke; this book was a hard-hitter with little breathing room to escape the topic of apartheid in Noah's life. This is a story that must be read to be believed and must be felt with an open heart to try and understand the crisis of growing up with a family who loves you and a culture who doesn't understand you.

Trevor Noah was born to a Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother which made his birth a crime punishable by law. Struggling to keep Trevor a secret and live as normally as possible under apartheid, his mother found ways to give Trevor a good life even when the country was seemingly working against her. Upon liberation, Trevor and his mother were able to live their lives in a way neither would have though possible in his early childhood. This is a coming-of-age story as Noah finds his way in a world that desires to place a label on a life without trying to understand the individual.

This book is well-written, witty, and thought-provoking reflecting on issues that many individuals are still facing in our modern world. I loved the way that each chapter was settled with a note on apartheid along with a memory from Noah's youth focusing on the way personal history is directly intertwined with the current state of things in your culture. Noah's writing is so well-crafted that readers do not need to be history buffs or well-read on the subject to understand the movement and significance of apartheid before reading the book. Rather, Noah gives the facts face-forward allowing the reader to reflect on what the experience meant for his life and what it says about the current issues we are currently facing in a world where racism still exists. Noah doesn't hold your hand as you read; he slaps you on the back and asks readers to consider what it means to be born a crime.

This is a glimpse into a part of history is only fractionally explored, yet needs to have more light shed on it in order to prevent the terrible laws and actions of apartheid from happening again. I would recommend it to anyone who can take brutal honesty and quite a bit of foul language, to anyone who seeks a better understanding of the value of life and family, and anyone who enjoys the humor of Trevor Noah on The Daily Show.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐




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