Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
written and narrated by Trevor Noah
This is an amazing book to listen to. If you have the option, I highly recommend getting the audio version. It’s one thing to have Trevor tell you that he’s able to blend in with other groups because he can speak their language; it’s so much better to be able to hear him do it.
Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.
Before listening to the book, I had only a very vague idea of what apartheid was, or what it meant. I certainly didn’t have anything like an insider’s view of it. Due to various circumstances, Trevor didn’t have to deal with the worst of it either, but in this book he shows what the resulting society was like, and how hard it was to move past.
In addition to that, Trevor’s mom sounds like an amazing woman. The quotes from her that Trevor writes in the book include some great and important knowledge.
The smallest thing could prompt her. I’d walk through the house on the way to my room and say, “Hey, Mom” without glancing up. She’d say, “No, Trevor! You look at me. You acknowledge me. Show me that I exist to you, because the way you treat me is the way you will treat your woman. Women like to be noticed. Come and acknowledge me and let me know that you see me. Don’t just see me when you need something.”
My only complaint about this book was that it was written more like a series of stories and less like a chronological look at Trevor’s life. (This is fine, it just wasn’t what I expected.) So sometimes, we’d be moving forward and he’d reached adulthood, then all of a sudden we were back to when he was 9. If you look at the story flow, and the topic that he’s discussing, the transition makes sense. It’s only if you expect time to flow linearly in the book that you will run into trouble with this.
Rating: 5 stars