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

This book is a masterclass in both humorous and insightful storytelling, and Trevor Noah’s writing is able to beget these characteristics through a perspective only he can provide. Reading Born a Crime made me feel as though the story could’ve come from an uncle or cousin of mine, as it perfectly captures the experience of growing up in the global South. Even though I am not a huge fan of his Daily Show, for a myriad of reasons, it is clear that Noah is able to best express his thought processes and wit through his writings. I particularly liked how he kept on using funny situations to deliver critiques on Apartheid South African society, from colorism/racism to class divide to sexism. I would have liked some more elaboration on how Noah actually became a comedian and the experiences he had on the road to fame, but that is not the focus of the book. The book’s main focus is Noah’s mother, who is the woman responsible for the majority of his critical thought and how he’s grown to view the world. Overall, Born a Crime is a beautiful and hilarious story that I have reread multiple times, and perfectly articulates many of my thoughts on race and the post-colonial mess left by Western white exploitation.

4.5 Stars

Review by Sreejita, Teen Reviewer