- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: John Murray (15 January 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1473635292
- ISBN-13: 978-1473635296
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.4 x 23.3 cm
- Customer Reviews: 8,089 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #76,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Paperback – 15 January 2017
|Paperback, 15 January 2017||
It's no surprise that Trevor Noah, the slyly suave successor to Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show, should write a smart book. But 'smart' doesn't begin to cover what he pulls off in Born a Crime . . . Noah's memoir is extraordinary . . . essential reading on every level. It's hard to imagine anyone else doing a finer job of it (SEATTLE TIMES)
Powerful... The story of his life is full of chase scenes in which he runs, hell for leather, from spankings, from the long arm of the law, and from the swinging fist of his stepfather... a unique perspective (THE TIMES)
A soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism . . . is an enormous gift (USA TODAY)
A BOOK TO READ NOW (WALL STREET JOURNAL)
A memoir with heft... The interracial coupling that produced him really was a crime, making him an outsider. But he thrives with the help of his astonishingly fearless mother. (At one point she tosses him from a moving car -- driven by gangsters -- to save his life.) However brutal South African history is, their fierce bond makes this story soar (PEOPLE, Best New Books)
Noah has a real story to tell -- and tells it well... A little scary, but trust me -- it's funny (NEWSDAY)
An affecting memoir. . . a love letter to his mother (WASHINGTON POST)
Mind-blowing as f*** (COSMOPOLITAN)
Noah proves a gifted storyteller, deftly lacing his poignant tales with amusing irony (ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY)
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I've had mixed feelings about his coming of age tales. I don't remember laughing hard reading a line of the book and feeling guilty for having laughed reading the next line.
Reminded me of own childhood days even it was completely of different circumstances. I never got to know about Apartheid beyond getting some marks in my high school history class. These humanistic experiences helped me shape some of my views.
I always thought the way Trevor said about the predominant part of our human history is their own native happenings. I had it that way during my school days that the most important part was all about Indians getting independence from British struggling about 100 years but things been always more than that.
His story is so inspirational and lovely. I never get to read these kind of books before and I'm glad I did by now.
Genre - Nonfiction
Pages - 288
Publisher - @hachette_india
From racism,domestic violence, dysfunctional family, religious clashes, racist crimes & social hierarchy system in South Africa to teenage acne and bad hair days -Noah gotcha covered
Literally born a crime (as an interracial kid) against the judicial system of his native country,this book covers incidents that shaped Trevor Noah in someway or the other. This is the story of a young man, who went from pirating CDs to becoming a worldwide phenomena.
He went a very tough road to reach where he is now,but Noah and his mother remained fighters against all odds and this book is such a love letter to his mother,it's adorable. Tied with Trevor Noah's amazing comic skills this book is equally important, entertaining & informative.
From the stories one gets an insight into the practical working of the apartheid and how it affected the life of people who did not ‘belong’, like Trevor Noah who was born to a Xhosa mother and a Swiss German Father. Through his stories he brings out how colour and language became tools of separating people during the apartheid. Noah also shows through amusing and enterprising personal anecdotes how these very tools could be used to overcome the very barriers of apartheid set to create.
The stories Trevor Noah tells of his life are intense, colourful and humorous. At times he comes out smartly at times he is the silent accomplice who watches his friends get caught. There are many situations he unwittingly gets into and some because he cannot resist the temptation of his mischievous mind. At times he reminds of Tom Sawyer. Even though he had to struggle with poverty and suffer due to his mixed colour he comes across with clarity and humor. His writing is direct and peppered with nuggets of wit and turn of phrase.
The bond between feisty Noah and his independent and self made mother is the most forceful aspect in almost all stories. Despite his mother’s discipline and severity; his angst and rebelliousness the two share an enduring and touching relationship.
The book is a collection of stories not a chronological biography, at times the switch between childhood and youth can be confusing and also leads to some repetition. However, it gives the author more liberty in bringing out various facets of his life of a mixed child in apartheid ridden South Africa.
It would have been fascinating to know how of Trevor Noah's journey to US and the successful position he is in today. Maybe, that is for another book.
For now we have this readable, lovely and humorous book.
He came across as an intelligent guy and sometimes gave us a glimpse of his childhood in bits and parts in his stand up routines. But with this book he takes us deeper.
This read felt like a gritty first hand experience of growing up during Apartheid, being thrown from a moving minibus and tasting the mud, oh and he made us smell his poop too. There’s that humour that you’d expect. But that is only a tiny part of it. His relationship with his mother is what ties the whole book together. He is not only an intelligent comic but an equally intelligent Author too.
Enjoy reading this excellent book.
Top international reviews
Reading 'Born A Crime' was such an eye-opening insight into what was actually going on during and after Apartheid. Firstly, Noah is only 33. Apartheid ended in living memory. It's a terrifying thought, how recent that is. Which leads onto my next point: we weren't taught about this nearly enough.
It's always different hearing about these sorts of experiences from someone who lived through it. Particularly because Noah is biracial. He didn't look black enough to be black, despite growing up around black people and never seeing himself as anything else. But he also wasn't white enough to be white. His family weren't particularly well-off. He didn't have the latest brands. He fit in enough that he was still an outsider, always flitting from group to group.
His mother, thought, is a force to be reckoned with. She's incredibly strong and independent. As a single mother with a biracial child she had to be. She actively sought out ways to undermine the white authorities. It was Noah and his mother against the world. A team. It was wonderful to read about such a strong family bond. Despite everything going crazy around them they had each other.
This isn't just the story of a young man's rise to fame, but a story of family, support, and unconditional love.
Und dann gibt es noch die Bücher, die einen zum Lachen und zum Weinen bringen, die einen kichern, aufschreien, aufspringen lassen, die einem ein dämliches Grinsen ins Gesicht zaubern oder auch ein paar Tränchen in die Augen drücken. Die Bücher, die so spannend sind, dass man die Haltestelle verpasst, und so klug, dass man die Welt nach dem Lesen tatsächlich ein bisschen besser versteht. Die Bücher, die warmherzig und dramatisch zugleich und trotzdem nie kitschig sind. Die Bücher, bei denen man am Ende der Lektüre einfach dankbar ist, dass man über sie gestolpert ist.
»Born a Crime« gehört in diese zweite Kategorie.
Trevor Noah gehört zur Elite der amerikanischen Late-Night-Talker und moderiert die »Daily Show« auf Comedy Central - mehr dazu auf Youtube. Und er ist der Sohn einer südafrikanischen Mutter vom Stamm der Xhosa und eines schweizerdeutschen Vaters, geboren in den letzten Jahren der Apartheid als das titelgebende »Verbrechen«. Denn im Sinn der Rassentrennung sind Beziehungen wie die seiner Eltern verboten, und Kinder wie ihn gibt es offiziell auch nicht. Aber Trevor ist ein cleveres Kerlchen, und nebenbei mit einer Löwenmutter gesegnet, die ihren Sohn mit Strenge, Gottesfürchtigkeit, einer großen Portion Mut und bescheidensten finanziellen Mitteln durch Kindheit, Pubertät und Erwachsenwerden lotst. Klar, dass das besonders anstrengend ist, wenn man aufgrund seiner Eltern automatisch als Außenseiter abgestempelt wird.
Dieses Buch ist auf vielen Ebenen großartig. Zum einen ist es großartig geschrieben, stellenweise haarsträubend spannend, mit einer großen Prise Humor, aber nie, ohne den oft sehr ernsten Hintergrund aus den Augen zu lassen. Den schwierigen Spagat zwischen Lausbubengeschichten und Familiendrama bewältigt es ganz nebenbei. Feingeister könnten sich an den gelegentlich inflationär auftauchenden Wörtern f**c und s**t stören - nur warum sollte der große Trevor eine andere Sprache sprechen als die, die der kleine Trevor benutzt hat?
Dann erzählt das Buch eine großartige Geschichte, eigentlich den amerikanischen Traum mit afrikanischem Einschlag: vom Außenseiter in Soweto zum Talkshow-Host in Amerika. Von den großartigen Figuren habe ich ja schon geschrieben. Nebenbei ist es auch noch clever aufgebaut: Jedes Kapitel wird mit einem kurzen Exkurs über einen Aspekt des Lebens in Südafrika eingeleitet. Warum galten unter der Apartheid Japaner als Weiße, Chinesen jedoch als Schwarze? Warum muss eine Katze auf einem südafrikanischen Fußballfeld um ihr Leben fürchten? Die Antwort auf diese Frage erhält man im nachfolgenden Kapitel anhand einer Geschichte aus Trevors Leben.
»Born a Crime« erzählt vom Aufwachsen in einem Land im Umbruch, in einer Gesellschaft, die die Apartheid auf dem Papier hinter sich gelassen hat und im dritten Jahrausend angekommen ist - und die in der Realität immer noch von haarsträubendem Aberglauben, allgegenwärtigen Vorurteilen und furchtbarer Brutalität beherrscht wird. Was beim ersten Date alles schiefgehen kann, wenn ein Land elf offizielle Sprachen hat, wie eine Sicherheitskamera einen Ladendieb vor der Polizei rettet oder wie aus »Hitler« ein anerkannter Vorname wurde - das alles und noch viel mehr erzählt »Born a Crime«.
Mein Fazit: Eines der wenigen und ganz besonderen Bücher, die einen die Welt nach dem Lesen mit anderen Augen sehen lassen. Lehrreich, unterhaltsam und berührend. Mehr kann ein Buch nicht bieten.
I found his journey and that of his family (especially his mother) fascinating. Not only do we get to read his bio, but we also get an insight into what it was like being a child growing up during apartheid in South Africa.
His writing style and his personality reflect how he is on tv, he is intelligent, funny, charming and honest.
Without spoiling anything - be prepared for a roller coaster ride.
Was very disappointed when I got to the end of the book. I may have to read it again!
I thoroughly recommend it.
This excerpt... literally, mind blown:
“Yes, it was horrific. But I often wonder, with African atrocities like in the Congo, how horrific were they? The thing Africans don’t have that Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that’s really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and rightly be horrified. But when you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It’s harder to be horrified by a guess.”
Also , the author contradicts himself a few times , which makes me think that perhaps there is a bit of ‘poetic licence ‘ in this book . Also , there is virtually nothing about hoe he started in his career , we leave him freshly out of Jail , and it then jumps to his Mum being shot and all we know is that at that point he had been estranged from him Mum a, living with his cousin and was a comedian . Ok . How did all of that happen ?
A shame, really , as with some editing it could have been a good book .
In my opinion, Trevor is one of the most intelligent people on TV (or elsewhere) and this book shows us how he became the astute, authentic, resilient, and insightful person that he now is.
As an aside, special shout out to his Ma, Patricia, whom I understand will be played by Lupita in the upcoming movie adaptation, and while I like Lupita enough, I believe she is unsuited for this role as she herself must well know. South African women have a certain look which is def not Lupita and it would be a shame for Trevor to cede control of casting simply because she was the first person to contact him about movie options. Just saying.
Ultimately, Born a Crime is an important piece of literature that provides a young man's view of the effects of apartheid, the family dynamic that devolved from being born a crime, and the power of a mother's love.
The over-riding question for me has always been, how did he manage to scale such heady career heights so quickly from a disadvantaged position. His intellect, confidence, story telling and quick wit are evident on stage and behind the camera - but it takes more than this to achieve the success that he has. The book provides real clues to this conundrum. It gives good insight into his motivation and diversity of his skills and experience. He made it his business to be curious about life, people and the way the world works. He is the doyen of all street smarts.
Enjoy this read and hopefully he writes a follow up soon to describe his career.
We read about what life is like for a mixed person in Apartheid South Africa and post Apartheid. With each chapter giving us information that you may not have known about Apartheid. His mother indeed took risks in raising him at such a time; where children could be separated from their family, because of their skin colour.
At times you do feel for young Trevor; he always had to pick a side at one point or another. Was he, black white or mixed? With each group showing how he was different from the norm, be it by appearance, culture or language.
Though there are some dark themes present through the book, there is always an underlying feeling of hope. His mother is truly a force to be reckoned with, but she can also always find the positive in a bad situation.
This book will take you through a range of emotions, and it will also suck you into his world. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for something to read.
Noah's rise to prominence seems to have been swift, but in this lively memoir, we learn of his troubled upbringing. Born to a black woman and a European man under apartheid, his conception was illegal under that iniquitous system. Mandela came to power when Noah was a child, however; thus his subsequent struggles were due more to systemic division and poverty than formal politics. He finds himself unable to fit it anywhere - not black enough, not white enough, not technically "coloured" - until he finds a path which enables him to moves between racial and class groupings, first as a DJ, then as a comedian.
The real star of the tale is Noah's remarkable mother - deeply religious, and prone to physically disciplining him, she nevertheless chose to become a single mother, and encouraged her oldest son to think outside the box. This is a life blighted, though, by an unhappy relationship with Trevor's violent, alcoholic stepfather.
Noah's tales of teenage life on the streets are vivid and shocking, in a "Boyz 'N The Hood" manner, and it is sometimes hard to believe that he is writing about Africa on the cusp of the 21st century rather than the 1940s. The chapters are separated by sober, factual inserts, which put the light-hearted, confessional tone of the rest of the book in context. He comes across as wise and humane as well as irreverent.
A little more information about his shift into stand-up would have been appreciated, but perhaps that is a matter for the next volume. "Born A Crime" is sobering and funny, and Noah's story is easy to relate to, whatever one's background.