Born A Crime

Born A Crime

Stories From A South African Childhood

Book - 2016
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"Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love."--
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780385689229
0385689225
Branch Call Number: 921 NOAH
Characteristics: x, 288 pages ; 24 cm

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April 2019 Read

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Torliss Jan 15, 2018

I loved this book. When John Stewart left "The Daily Show" I wasn't sure I'd like his replacement. I only learned about Trevor Noah's life living under apartheid when I heard an interview with him on the radio. After reading "Born a Crime" I am in awe of this man. Funny and am... Read More »

By Trevor Noah, a comedian now host of the Daily Show. Beginning from his birth from the forbidden union of a White man and a Xhosa woman, Trevor Noah recounts his coming-of-age story during the twilight of the Apartheid and the following period of freedom. This book was a huge hit in 2016 and 20... Read More »


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e
elsabyrholdt
Jun 10, 2018

I absolutely loved this book. I keep going back and thinking about it. So eye opening to a different culture, race, society. I would recommend this to every single person.

a
Adventuress42
May 15, 2018

What a compelling read. It bounces a bit between his time lines but that's to stay on topic, share points, ideas. Very well done, and what an incredible story.

Very inspiring to me as I work on writing, helping with the mindfulness towards what I enjoy in reading.

r
ryner
May 12, 2018

In his biography, Trevor Noah, the current host of The Daily Show, reveals much about his childhood under South African apartheid. Oppressive and barbaric under even the best of circumstances, this system of segregation and discrimination intensified the challenges Noah faced as the son of a Swiss national and a native Xhosa woman, whose relationship was considered a criminal offense.

My overall reaction while reading was -- wow, Trevor was quite the little rascal! Upon finishing the book I can't help but wonder about the well-being of the rest of his family (is everyone OK??). I decreased my rating by one star due to the occasionally disorienting non-linear timeline, but I awarded an additional star for the sheer amount of knowledge I have gained about South African history and culture.

j
jac1975
May 10, 2018

One of the best books I've ever read: you have all feelings there. It's a life lesson.

b
baileyzzz
May 06, 2018

Sharons' reading group read this.

s
steedy
Apr 30, 2018

A very inspiring book. Every indigenous person in Canada should read this.

m
mclarjh
Apr 22, 2018

A bitter look back at the early life of a common criminal.

m
maryjlatu
Mar 26, 2018

An inspiring biography with laughs, humanity and so much love for his mum. Truly a great read!

n
NileT
Mar 21, 2018

Trevor Noah, an up-and-comer in the world of entertainment, has shown that he is a man of many trades, from comedian, to talk show host, to professional DJ, and now author. Noah's memoir perfectly combines his talent for comedy with his electrifying childhood, leading to chapter after chapter of pure enjoyment for the reader. Furthermore, Noah keeps the reader thinking with deep insights on the infrastructure of Apartheid, and the how it managed to bring an entire society to its knees. This high level of contemplation is what makes the comedy so much sweeter.

JCLChrisK Mar 21, 2018

Highly engaging and entertaining, which is unsurprising given the author is a professional comedian and entertainer. Less expected is the insightfulness, breadth, and quality of the writing. Noah had an extraordinary childhood and he draws upon it for a wide range of personal stories, all united by his deep love and respect for his mother, who has clearly been the largest influence on his life. Highly recommended.

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katboxjanitor
Mar 06, 2018

People thought my mom was crazy. Ice rinks and drive-ins and suburbs, these things were izinto zabelungu—the things of white people. So many black people had internalized the logic of apartheid and made it their own. Why teach a black child white things? Neighbors and relatives used to pester my mom. “Why do all this? Why show him the world when he’s never going to leave the ghetto?” “Because,” she would say, “even if he never leaves the ghetto, he will know that the ghetto is not the world. If that is all I accomplish, I’ve done enough.”

k
katboxjanitor
Mar 06, 2018

But the more we went to church and the longer I sat in those pews the more I learned about how Christianity works: If you’re Native American and you pray to the wolves, you’re a savage. If you’re African and you pray to your ancestors, you’re a primitive. But when white people pray to a guy who turns water into wine, well, that’s just common sense.

This quote could be titled 'Christianity, assimilate or else!'

l
Liber_vermis
Nov 18, 2017

"In the [neighbour]hood, even if you're not a hardcore criminal, crime is in your life in some way or another. There are degrees of it. ... The hood made me realized that crime succeeds because crime does the one thing the government doesn't do: crime cares. Crime is grassroots. Crime looks for the young kids who need support and a lifting hand. Crime offers internship programs and summer jobs and opportunities for advancement. Crime gets involved in the community. Crime doesn't discriminate." (p. 209)

s
shayshortt
Feb 21, 2017

The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all.

Age Suitability

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katboxjanitor
Mar 06, 2018

katboxjanitor thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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green_turtle_2159
Sep 21, 2017

green_turtle_2159 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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wrtrchk
Apr 04, 2017

wrtrchk thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Summary

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shayshortt
Feb 21, 2017

When Trevor Noah was born in South Africa in 1984, his existence was literally illegal, proof that his black, Xhosa mother and his white, Swiss-German father had violated the Immorality Act of 1927, one of the many laws defining the system known as apartheid. The crime carried a punishment of four to five years in prison, and mixed race children were often seized and placed in state-run orphanages. But Noah’s mother was determined and clever, and she managed to hold onto her son, refusing to flee her home country in order to raise him. But it made his childhood complicated, even after apartheid officially ended in 1994. Racial hierarchies and inequities persisted, and despite receiving a good education, his upbringing was anything but easy. In a series of essays, Born a Crime chronicles Noah’s experience growing up under apartheid and its aftermath.

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