Book Review: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by comedian Trevor Noah is an autobiography that is one crazy ride. It doesn’t feel like an autobiography and that is the magic of Noah. He uses comedy to make the reader laugh and also details his life vividly and you have to find out what happens next.

Like many people, I have come across Noah’s comedy stand up videos and know how funny he is. He is a gifted story teller and the book showcases that even more. We hear about Noah’s insane childhood and he makes many of our childhood’s look mild in comparison. More than Noah just telling us, he shows us with detailed writing and that is amazing coming from someone who isn’t even a professional writer.

This novel is about Noah but it is also about how resilient his mother was. We are shown how much Noah’s mom means to him and how she played a huge role in helping Noah be where he is today. She made sure he spoke many languages and we see that pay off right away. This is a novel but it is also a love letter to his mom where he wants to thank her for everything and he executes this perfectly.

Noah takes us down memory lane and tells us how difficult it was for him and his family growing up. And church was a big part of his life because his mom was a firm believer. Noah was just like any other kid and would try everything to escape from going to church. What I didn’t expect before I started reading was how interesting the stories would be. It is comedy and great story telling in an autobiography and makes you wonder how he made it work.

Normally, I don’t read much autobiographies. I prefer fiction but this book kept showing up all over the place and I decided to give it a read. Part of that was because I liked Noah and partly because it had great reviews. I was glad I read it and would recommend it to everyone who loves to read even if you aren’t the biggest fan of autobiographies.

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