Born A Crime

Born A Crime

Stories From A South African Childhood

Book - 2016
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The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime New York Times bestseller about one man's coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

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.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. 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 moving and searingly funny 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, ©2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780385689229
Branch Call Number: 792. 7028092 NOA N
Characteristics: x, 288 pages : illustration ; 25 cm.

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From Library Staff

List - Laughing Out Loud
Liesel_C Jul 24, 2017

The bestselling autobiography by South African comedian and host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah. "Born A Crime" describes Noah's childhood in post-apartheid South Africa, the child of a white father and black mother in a country where it was a crime for him to be born as a mixed-race ba... Read More »


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furiouslibrarian
Oct 12, 2018

The greatest compliment I can ever give a book is this: when I'm forced to put it down to do other things, all I want to do is go back to reading. I kicked myself for leaving it at work when I could have been reading at home.

There aren't really words to describe this book; it's a memoir and a social history and a comedy and a drama all at once. Just read it. Even if you don't know anything about his work as a comedian or in television, it's a worthwhile read.

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wviquez
Oct 09, 2018

A celebrity is telling me about his life, his dogs, his first kiss. He vividly describes his home country. He confides in me the story of how his mother got shot. I’ve never met this celebrity before, but I have seen his YouTube videos and stand up comedies on Netflix.

Today I have his book in my hands. I start reading and suddenly I hear his voice. I can hear the intonations, the long pauses. It is one of the strangest feelings ever, but in my brain Trevor Noah is reading his book to me.

I consider myself a slow reader; yet I finished Trevor’s book in less than a week. The book begins by setting the scene with a short history lesson, which is helpful to understand the stories that follow. Page by page I feel closer to Trevor’s reality as a child and his experience growing up in a country where the government did everything possible to separate humans by their skin color (sounds familiar?).

It may sound like a serious book, but do not get me wrong, you will laugh your ass off and people around you will look at you in a funny way. You may also cry.

Most of the time we enclose ourselves in a bubble; we live within comfortable boundaries. We complain about rain, slow computers, no internet service or no Instagram likes. We are clueless about other people’s sufferings and the inhumane rules they are submitted to. We are unaware of what those in power want to keep quiet.

The first pages of this book are an eye-opener. You will doubt the burden of your problems. You will find out that some people transform this beautiful world into a cruel place. You will learn that many others struggle and come afloat despite the adversities thrown at them. There is hope.

www.colorsofcostarica.com

e
ednabw
Oct 09, 2018

Remarkable reflection of growing up in a country where biracial relationships were illegal. His life's story and personal struggles are written in a conversational tone which makes it an easy and fast read.

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fashion14
Sep 26, 2018

so I have so much t say. starting with how I read this book more than twice. Trevor is such an amazing guy. He had so many key points that I couldn't help but nod my head in agreement. He is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo handsome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The way he was raised and HOW he was raised are so just mind blowing. I loveeeeedddddddddddddd the book. I recommend you read it. He did a great job on the book and I am just beyond words for this. I felt like he was putting himself out there by giving us detail what happened during his childhood. I love how close he is with his mother,its beautiful. his mom did a wonderful job in raising him and she is a great woman. Everyone can learn many things from this book. He is great and so is this book. LOVED IT. it deserves a million stars not just 5
I LOVED IT THAT MUCH

c
cc51
Sep 08, 2018

I read this in one sitting; I couldn't put it down.

g
gloryb
Aug 11, 2018

This is Noah's memoir of his childhood to about the age of 20. In this reminiscence of what his childhood was like, Noah jumps around a lot in time. In one chapter he is 6, in the next he is going to his high school prom, and in another he is a pre-schooler, etc. Noah is such a likable person that it is rather hard to believe he was so mischievous as a kid. It's amazing he turned out as we know him - that's the story I want to read. What happened to him after high school graduation when he spent 3 years in buying and selling stuff and making loans in his neighborhood? I guess that will be another book. Through Noah's stories about how he was raised, we get an idea of the strong woman his mother was. I couldn't believe that it took her so long to opt out of her marriage to that mechanic, particularly when he began abusing her son. The stories he tells are short, but usually he manages to find something to joke about in each one.

JessicaGma Aug 09, 2018

I often avoid memoirs of people still living as sometimes they're not as interesting, or show off more than you wanted to know about the person, but this one lives up to the hype. Trevor Noah is a brilliant storyteller, and I learned a great deal about Apartheid in South Africa, about which I knew little. This is worth your time!

j
jillboone
Jul 11, 2018

This was really a good read - a journey into what it was like growing up colored in South Africa through Apartheid, written with Trevor's way of telling stories that makes him so interesting in the Daily Show. Both entertaining and informative on a number of levels.

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dorothy_esau
Jul 07, 2018

I have been watching the Daily Show with Trevor Noah for a couple of years now, and was very interested to learn more about this witty and compassionate young man. The book is fascinating from cover to cover; it's very well written, drawing the reader into the complex form of racism that has been part of South Africa for far too long. The story is very personal, funny and sad, with so much hope and a wonderful ending. I would like to see more books by Trevor Noah.

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WoodneathSheri
Jul 02, 2018

I stopped watching The Daily Show after Jon Stewart left and only recently starting watching it again, so I decided to read Noah's book. I loved it. The stories of his young life were so interesting and some were funny and tragic at the same time. I still laugh to myself when I think of the story where his grandmother thought a demon had come into the house because there was a terrible smell. You'll have to read it to find out about this "demon." I didn't know much about apartheid before reading Born A Crime and now I feel as though I have at least a rudimentary understanding of it. I can't imagine growing up with the social rules he had to deal with every day. I also appreciated everything his Mom went through to bring him up. She's such a strong woman and I loved the bond they had, even when things were tough. Trevor's a good storyteller and a funny guy and I'm definitely going to keep watching his show, too.

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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.

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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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