I honestly jumped up and down and screamed like a fool when I saw that I had been granted an advanced review copy of Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I am a huge Daily Show fan and as a mixed person myself, I have become completely fascinated with his story of growing up under the apartheid with a black Xhosa mother and white Swiss father. In this memoir of sorts, Noah gives us a glimpse of what it was like growing up in South Africa as as a poor, colored individual. Through this string of eighteen interconnected essays, he chronicles his rather mischievous tendencies as a child as well as his struggle to find his place in the world. He also explores his relationship with his number one fan and partner in crime, his mother, who has dedicated her life to giving Trevor the childhood that she never had.
Noah’s voice is both authentic and captivating. It is with humor, grace, and incredible wit that he unpacks the many struggles he faced growing up. Furthermore, he tells his story in a way that put the reader’s personal issues and more global issues into perspective. Specifically, his stories of racial divide force the American reader to reserve their judgement for the state of South Africa under the apartheid as we, as a country, still continue to struggle with racism.
I particularly loved Noah’s choice to structure the book as eighteen loosely connected snapshots from his upbringing, with the most traumatic of incidents being revealed to the reader at the end. Through this format, he shows the reader how you can be impacted by many things but you don’t have to be defined by them. The apartheid, poverty, and the abusive relationship between his mother and stepfather are all things that significantly shaped how Noah perceives the world around him, however he doesn’t allow them to limit him or be something worthy of pity. Ultimately, the overall flow of the memoir mirrors his incredible lack of a woe-is-me attitude and willingness to take everything life throws at him in stride.
I honestly can’t say enough good things about this novel. Trevor Noah’s ability to tell his story in such a way that makes the reader feels as though they are simply sitting across from him is amazing and truly unlike anything I have ever read before. I think everyone has a tremendous amount to learn from Noah’s unwavering spirit and therefore I would recommend this book to absolutely everyone.
5 out of 5 stars
**A special thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for giving me an advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review**