Book Talks: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

born a crimeBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

When comedian, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, and author Trevor Noah sees someone pushed out of a moving vehicle in the movies, and watches them tumble and tumble and then spring to their feet ready for action, he can’t help but think “It hurts way more than that.” That’s because, as he explains in his book Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, as a young boy his mother pushed him out of a moving car, so he knows how it feels. Trevor Noah was born in South Africa in 1984 to a black South African mother, and a white Swiss father. His very existence as a mixed race child was a crime under apartheid, which didn’t end until the 1990s. Those years were at once deeply formative yet experienced through childhood innocence – thinking he was just an “indoor kid” when he, in fact, was not allowed to leave the house for fear he would be discovered; thinking his mother and father walking on opposite sides of the street when out in public together was normal; and the dangers of everyday life in apartheid Johannesburg – the necessity of fleeing moving cars included. Trevor tells the story of his life – at times horrifying, at times joyful, and sparkling with the richness of an upbringing by the strong women in his life – his mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. All the while, he gives us a timely lesson of a dark history not long past.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah is available to reserve in both print and audio at the Haliburton County Public Library.

*Originally aired on 100.9 CANOE FM.

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