Book Review: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Insightful. Hilarious. Heartwarming.

Trevor Noah was born to a white father from Switzerland and a black mother from the Xhosa tribe. Growing up in a country that forbade the mixing of races, he was, like the title states, ‘Born A Crime‘. Through this book, Trevor discusses his bond with his mother, consequences of apartheid in SA, and his struggles to fit in between black and white communities. Under the apartheid system, citizens were separated based on their skin colour. White became a privileged class while Black an oppressed one. Trevor, being the coloured kid, fit somewhere in between. While he was a rank higher than the Blacks, he was still beneath the Caucasians.


Due to lack of attention span, I was not a person who inched towards reading memoirs. However, this year altered my dogma after I stumbled upon Me by Elton John and Born A Crime by Trevor Noah.

Reading Noah’s stories was a touching and insightful history lesson that shone a light upon the disgusting apartheid system, colonialism and intertribal animosity. He emphasises how your race became a determinative factor of treatment you received in the country.

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

Trevor Noah

I loved seeing Noah’s closeness to his mother, a brave and pragmatic woman. Being a single parent, she had a hand in him learning languages and ways of life. It was this knowledge that helped him connect with people from various tribes (and narrowly escape getting mugged). He recounts utterly hilarious accounts from pooping in the house to dodging his mother’s whoppings. (I swear I am still laughing as I type this.)

Noah’s witty writing style in the form of short stories makes this autobiography exceptional read.

Enjoyed reading this? Don’t forget to check out more review here.

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