Book Review: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Title: Born a Crime
Author: Trevor Noah
My Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of Trevor Noah until I read this book. Most people know him as the host of The Daily Show, but I don’t really watch much TV, and so I hadn’t even heard his name when his book was chosen, along with Dreams in a Time of War by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o for my monthly bookclub. But I’m really glad that I was led to this book and had the chance to read it and get to know a bit about this guy.

Trevor Noah was born in South Africa in 1984, during a time when interracial unions were a crime punishable with significant jail time. His mother was a black Xhosa woman, and his father a white Swiss man. So you can see where the title Born a Crime came from.

I think it was somewhat inevitable that Trevor Noah would grow up with an exceptional sense of humour after the things he had to live through as a kid. He couldn’t even go out and about with his own mother because the colour of his skin would reveal the crime that his mother and father had committed!Speaking of his mother, she was a very strong and admirable lady. Trevor really manages to express that in his anecdotes about her. Take for example the unforgettable moment when she realizes that they have taken a ride with some undesirable types. She pushes Trevor out the door of the moving van, and jumps out after him with her young baby! And later on, when Trevor finds himself in some trouble over taking a car, he is actually more afraid of the punishment he’ll get from his mother than he is of the trouble he is in with the law.

The general consensus in the bookclub was that you should listen to the audio version rather than read the book for yourself. I wasn’t able to get the audiobook from the library, so I read the e-book. But I can definitely see the appeal of listening to Trevor Noah tell his stories in his own voice. Apparently the story about the kid called Hitler was especially funny in the author’s own voice!

Even though I read it rather than listened to it, I thought it was hilarious and I loved the way he mixed in a short “lesson” at the beginning of each chapter, and then tied that in with a funny related anecdote. I thought it was very well done, hence my 5 star rating.

I’ll finish this review with a quote that I especially appreciated from the book. I always think of regret as one of my biggest fears, and this little quote summed up exactlBorn a Crimey my feelings on it:

I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in my life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.

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