Imagine being thrown from a car by your own mother. This is how “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah starts his gripping life story. Noah wonderfully describes his difficult life in the 1990s South Africa with funny stories and self-deprecating jokes in his autobiography “Born a Crime”.
Instead of following his life chronologically, Noah shares selected stories about his life, laughable and serious, in a humorous manner. Despite the book’s structure, the reader still gets a good sense of Noah’s life story.
Because the book takes place across his whole adolescence, there are few characters besides Noah and his family. While his mother was loving, his step-dad was a cruel alcoholic who refused to acknowledge Noah as his son. This was because Noah was quite literally “born a crime.” Noah grew up living in the apartheid, which simply is a series of laws and rules set forth to control native Africans interactions with the white people who were trying to colonize. During those times in South Africa, it was illegal for a white person and a native person of color to have sex. Noah is a “mixed” man meaning just that happened; his mother, a native, slept with a Swiss-German man.
Noah’s humorous voice and style forces the reader into an awkward position of whether or not to laugh. Noah makes jokes about everything including events that most wouldn’t have the audacity to joke about, such as the inherent anti-native culture that existed in South Africa. However, this style wasn’t a surprise, seeing as Noah is a comedian.
For readers who enjoy funny, engaging autobiographies and want to learn about South Africa’s past along the way, Trevor Noah’s “Born a Crime” is the perfect book.