Every morning while we have breakfast my husband Dave and I watch Trevor Noah’s show from the previous evening.
Trevor is intelligent, funny and an advocate of social justice. He provides a ray of hope in the current darkness that is the American political scene. I know Trevor’s voice well and I could hear it on every page of his autobiography Born a Crime.
The reason Trevor Noah was born a crime was because he was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother during apartheid in South Africa when his parents’ relationship was a punishable offence.
Trevor’s life was very hard in South Africa. He was prevented from having a close relationship with his Dad, had a very violent step father and he and his mother often lived just one step away from poverty. The fact that he has become the first black comedian to host a major comedy show in the United States is so impressive considering the difficulties he faced during his childhood and teens. He credits his mother who taught him to fight and ignore ‘the system’, to pursue his dreams and be tough. She always made sure he had lots of books to read and that he had all kinds of rich experiences that helped him develop an open mind. Trevor speaks at least a half a dozen languages.
Born a Crime is divided into essays and you don’t necessarily need to read them all in order. For example I read the three essays about the girlfriends of his youth one right after the other.
I admired Trevor’s mother very much and he has dedicated the book to her, but she made some decisions I find hard to understand. I felt a little sorry for his father who I think really loved him, but some of his Mom’s choices even after apartheid made their relationship impossible.
Even though the subject matter of the book is fairly dire Trevor Noah is a comedian and his sense of humour is definitely inherited from his Mom. Between the two of them they see the humour in even the darkest of situations. This book will make you cry but it will also make you laugh.