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Informative,
Inspiring,
Insightful

8 reviews

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah

Published: 2016-11-15
Hardcover : 304 pages
14 members reading this now
45 clubs reading this now
4 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 8 of 8 members
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times • ...
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Introduction

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
Michiko Kakutani, New York TimesNewsdayEsquire • NPR • Booklist

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 stories 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.

Praise for Born a Crime

 “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[An] unforgettable memoir.”Parade

 “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today

“[Noah] thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. . . . Their fierce bond makes this story soar.”—People

“[Noah’s] electrifying memoir sparkles with funny stories . . . and his candid and compassionate essays deepen our perception of the complexities of race, gender, and class.”Booklist (starred review)

“A gritty memoir . . . studded with insight and provocative social criticism . . . with flashes of brilliant storytelling and acute observations.”Kirkus Reviews

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Through crucible of apartheid with sense of humor intact"by milligan@digital.net (see profile) 08/12/17

Inside view of the insidious, misguided colonial system of apartheid from Noah's personal experiences growing up in South Africa. Anecdotes from childhood to adulthood written with insight and wry sense... (read more)

 
  "Born a Crime"by booker (see profile) 05/27/17

Very good. I don't remember members of our Club previously so actively participating in the discussion.

 
  "Born A Crime"by Sloanie (see profile) 04/24/17

A poignant look into life in South Africa during and just after Apartheid. Trevor Noah employs his trademark humor to share his personal experiences of growing up under this system of government, thus... (read more)

 
by fastaxion (see profile) 03/28/17

 
  "Oh Apartheid! Thou Wert Despicable!"by mimder (see profile) 02/16/17

Perfect coming together of South Africa's horrible history, a touching narrative of being Born a Crime, and an inspirational story of an amazing woman and mother. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.... (read more)

 
  "Born A Crime"by Enelram (see profile) 02/13/17

Fabulous book. Well written. Trevor's ability to explain complex issues in a few insightful sentences, with humor and a "plain spoken" style, make this book a treasure. He then follows through with... (read more)

 
  "So timely!"by Ann007 (see profile) 02/13/17

As we witness the 45th President of the United States consolidate power while trying to divide us, reading Trevor Noah's personal story should be a chilling wake up call to save our democracy/republic.... (read more)

 
by Carole McDermott (see profile) 02/02/17

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