Book Review: Born A Crime - Trevor Noah

Born a Crime

  • Author: Trevor Noah Date Finished: February 17, 2023 Non-Fiction Genres: Biography Rating: 4-Star

🚀 The Book in 3 Sentences

  1. Trevor Noah is a comedian from South Africa.
  2. He was born of an illegal coupling of a black SAfrican and white european.
  3. He grew up in post-apartheid Johannesburg and was shaped as a person by his mother and the surrounding townships.

🎨 Impressions

Trevor lived an entire life of experiences even before his career started getting off the ground. His childhood soundsincredibly tough and also rich. I recognisea few similar experiences in terms of the poor side of things, however wehad the safety of the village and support from the family.

The story is both sad and happy, the path Trevor made to become the young man he is now.

How I Discovered It

Knew about it for a long time, multiple recommendations. Picked it up to read it at Casa Mila.

Who Should Read It?

People who know of Trevor Noah and want to know about his background. People interested in what it was like for a coloured child to grow up in post-apartheid South Africa.

☘️ How the Book Changed Me

  • I see Trevor Noah from a different lens, I can appreciate where his humour comes from more deeply.
  • Really value the relationships and grab the opportunities you are offered.
  • So much of success lies on the tools your parents give you.

✍️ My Top 3 Quotes

Don’t fight the system. Mock the system.

Comfort can be dangerous. Comfort provides a floor but also a ceiling.

Language, even more than colour, defines who you are to people.

📒 Summary + Notes

Trevor grew up in the neighbourhoods of Johannesburg in South Africa as a coloured kid to a single black mom. During apartheid his early childhood was spent indoors by himself as his existence was a threat to his entire family. Post apartheid, he came accross the challenges of not belonging to a defined group, which both cased pain but allowed him to become who he is today, and develop his skills as a social butterfly and comedian.

Thanks to his mother, he was brought up with the tools he needed to get out and start his career. She was his teammate, through the good and the bad.

In his teenage and early twenties he got a taste of what it was to hustle and how it really never brought him anywhere. He also got his experience of the law at the time, the racial profiling and discrimination, as well as the perks of having light skin in a racist world.

His memoirs show what it was like to be a kid and try to grow up in a time that itself was growing up in a turbulent time where groups were struggling for power, and violence was often the way to show dominance.

The parts that really stuck with me are that language really helped him navigate this world and get people on his side. Language is a shortcut to another’s brain, especially when it is not expected from you.

Ivan Written by:

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