Born a Crime

By Trevor Noah,

Book cover of Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Book description

WINNER OF THE THURBER PRIZE

The compelling, inspiring, (often comic) coming-of-age story of Trevor Noah, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

One of the comedy world's brightest new voices, Trevor Noah is a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics,…

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Why read it?

7 authors picked Born a Crime as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Because Trevor Noah is a performer who is facile with voices and storytelling, and because he does his own audio reading, this book is particularly good in the audio version. In addition to being hilarious in parts, it is peppered with pearls of wisdom.

Trevor Noah is the funniest living comedian, and he is brilliant. Who would ever guess that his childhood was filled with so much trauma? Being set in Apartheid South Africa, I was able to keep a personal distance from the story. But it still touched and inspired me, perhaps because my own children are mixed race and had they been born there, I’d not have been allowed to marry or live with their father. Unimaginable. This autobiographical accounting of Trevor’s tormented life is a testimony to his inner strength. An average person from his background might be in prison or…

From Rosalyn's list on people who show moral courage.

Trevor is famous for hosting the influential The Daily Show in the USA and has also hosted the Grammies and the White House Correspondents dinner. How could that be possible after being ‘born a crime’? In the eighties, at a PTA dinner, a South African visitor suddenly realised that my husband is not white and she explained that our marriage would be illegal under Apartheid. That is why Trevor was ‘born a crime’ because he is the son of a Black African lady and a white man. I’m biased but I see diverse heritage as a positive despite the prejudice…

I am a sucker for learning about other cultures and Trevor Noah did a brilliant job of infusing stark reality with humor. I believe he and I have that in common. I wish you could have seen my face when I was reading this book: my wide smile would change into echoing laughter, and just when I was on the verge of tears, Noah would make me smile again. When I was a young girl living in an orphanage in Somalia, we used to sing songs to wish for freedom for South Africa. I didn’t know the word apartheid then,…

From Shugri's list on bringing other cultures to life.

It was a super informative non-fiction book about his life. He was born to a white father and a Black mother in times when you could go to jail for it.

I recommend this book because it teaches how unreasonable can the human be. And how stupid racism was and still is today. Also, it is incredible how his multiple language skills made him move around all maas of races in South Africa when it was not the norm; pretty remarkable. Language is the key to integration in a different country than yours. I know this myself by experience. Despite…

From Eduardo's list on to chill out on a calm summer evening.

I meeeeean… my dude was born in South Africa to a Black mom and a white dad under apartheid when interracial relationships were illegal. He was living proof of the “criminal behavior” that could’ve gotten his mother thrown in prison, his father ostracized, and his little self dropped into an orphanage. He describes how he actually had to walk separate from his father when they were out in public so as not to cause suspicion— that’s some dark shit! Yet he grew up to become one of the funniest people on the planet, hosting one of the most popular American…

From Chisa's list on finding joy in dark-ass times.

This is a funny, honest collection of stories that details the memoirs of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

It is by Trevor Noah, the popular comedian and talk show host on The Daily Show in America. Trevor originally comes from South Africa, and his book describes how his birth was a criminal act.

He was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother in apartheid South Africa when such a union was forbidden under the Mixed Marriages Act of 1949. Mixed-race liaisons were punishable by…

From Gail's list on modern South Africa.

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