Review – Born a crime by Trevor Noah

Born a crime – Stories from a south african childhood by Trevor Noah
Published: November 15th 2016 by Doubleday Canada
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography
Pages: 304


“The world saw me as colored, but I didn’t spend my life looking at myself.”

Be still my multiracial heart. I never wanted this to end. I wish there was literature like this when I was growing up. I wish I had someone that could explain the complexity of being biracial to me. I’ve longed for it for so long, and now, when I finally got it, I was a teenager again, and I cried through the whole thing.

“I wasn’t popular, but I wasn’t an outcast. I was everywhere with everybody, and at the same time I was all by myself.”

It is very very rare for me to find a book that I hold so close to my heart. Books that make me stop, think, read passages over and over and spend breathing days in between reading something meaningful to me, so that I not devour it all in one gulp. I stopped reading for days cause I didn’t want it to end. I read books in between because I didn’t want to finish it.

“Ever the outsider, I created my own strange little world. I did it out of necessity. I needed a way to fit in.”

I doubt this is the general consensus, but for some it might me. Voices of generations of kids growing up in a world that has no place for them is so important. We all long to find a safe space to call our own, a place where we can be understood. I found that space in between the pages of Trevor Noah’s book.

So many times tears fell and loudly had to exclaim YES! That’s exactly how I feel! I read passages to friends and they all nodded in agreement that the text was practically describing me. And I am not even black or african or swiss. I’m Norwegian, Spanish, Filipino, Indian, Chinese. And yet, the words call out to me. How powerful is the new emerging tribe of half-breeds that their experiences can rise above race all together and be the same story far across the other side of the world.

Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to hi in his language, that goes to his heart.”

So this was mostly my reaction to the book, and I may be biased. But the book, I though was also written very well, Mr.Noah is fantastic storyteller and he kept my attention and interest sharp throughout. I also learned a lot about apartheid and places in the world I have never been, reading about his childhood in South Africa. I think this book is an interesting read regardless if you know of him or not (which I barely did) and regardless what race you are, it’s an interesting story. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes inconsistent, sometimes exciting. It shows a life. And a story of a life is always worth telling, and always worth reading.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone biracial with interest in introspection. There is comfort in finding situations and people living a life similar to your own. I would also recommend this book to everyone else. The naivete of a child is something everyone should be able to relate to, and if you’ve ever crossed a few lines, I’m sure there’s comfort for you in there too. If there’s one thing Mr.Noah successfully showed me it’s that it’s ok to have a past, but we don’t have to live there, we can move on to the future.