Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood (Trevor Noah)

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The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of a young man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed

Trevor Noah is one of the comedy world’s brightest new voices, a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race, and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers in America and around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers a deeply personal, heartfelt, and humorous look at the world that shaped him.

Noah was born a crime, the son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the first years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, take him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. 

A collection of eighteen personal essays, Born a Crime tells the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. Born a Crime is equally the story of that young man’s fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother — a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that ultimately threatens her own life. 

Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Noah illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and an unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a lovable delinquent making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed with only a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.


I first paid attention to Trevor Noah when he started being a correspondent on The Daily Show, and I loved him, so I was super happy when he got the gig and made it to the front desk on the show. So, when I saw a book on netgalley with his face, I just clicked “request”, eheh, without even knowing much of what it was about. Man… I’m glad I miraculously got approved for this one.

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After starting the book – and reading the title a little better – I realized that the focus of this one would be about Trevor’s life in South Africa, mainly during his childhood and the consequences of the apartheid. In case you don’t know what apartheid was, it was a system of racial segregation in South Africa enforced through legislation from 1948 to 1994.

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I don’t think most of us outside segregated countries can actually understand how a system like this would be, so while reading, and knowing beforehand about all of this – my mom DOES live in AfricaI was still shocked and saddened by the whole situation.

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I think that Trevor was able to explain the system pretty well, especially how it was for him being a mixed child, because mixed children weren’t supposed to exist during apartheid… it was forbidden by law for white and black people to have intimate relations, and a mixed child was proof of exactly that, a crime!

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It was really interesting to read about Trevor’s life and about his hurricane of a mother. Seriously people, his mom MADE him. It’s impressive, so impressive, and there is no doubt in my mind that the way she raised him and pushed him, brought him to where he is today.

At the same time, while telling a very serious story of segregation, poverty, etc, the book is also funny as hell. Trevor Noah writes the way he talks, so there’s humour everywhere, even in the most dire situations. And Trevor’s humour is awesome, even if inappropriate at times, eheh. I had a fit of laughter inside a plane, because of one particular even when he was about 5 years old… yeah… that was hilarious!

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This was an excellent biography, I just had a couple of problems (small ones) about it. First of all, the book starts out strong, and then it gets confusing. This happens because it goes back and forth in time a couple of times, which happens a lot in memoirs, but here it took me a bit to get a grip on it, and it seemed like it could go through another round of editing, maybe?! Because it felt like it was all over the place for awhile… I don’t know… it felt a bit off in the beginning, but then the book gained speed and I loved it.

Another issue I had, and this has very little to do with the book itself, is the fact that it covers very little from Trevor Noah’s adult life. I wished that his transition from DJ to stand up was covered, or even mentioned, but it’s not. Several events occur when he’s already doing stand up all over the world, but there’s no “so, this is how it came to be” moment, and I missed that.

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Overall, this was an excellent biography, with a huge focus on the South African society during and post-Apartheid. It also focus a lot on the issue of belonging, related to the effects of the segregation. I think this is such an important read! I honestly have to recommend it to everyone, whether or not you love Trevor Noah, you should read it. He talks about a reality that I think most people are not truly aware of, so read this, get informed, laugh a bit while doing it. Have fun while learning :D.

Read this one!

This Week on TV: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

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I’ve been a little out of tune with my TV Shows since they came back in September. Actually, I’m just up to date with a couple of shows =/ . But one show that I’ve been keeping track is The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

I’m a huge fan of Jon Stewart, so I was super sad to see him go. But I like Trevor Noah, so I was happy that he got the gig. So, how’s he doing since taking up the chair on September 28?

I think he’s doing quite well actually… It took him a couple of weeks to find his voice, but each week that goes by he’s doing better. I like his segments and his jokes – and his laugh is super funny. One thing I think he’s doing great are his interviews, a favorite of mine was his interview with Bree Larson – I laughed so much!

I like the new correspondents, but if I could change anything from the show right now, it would be the amount of time the correspondents are having. With Jon Stewart, those segments were sporadic – which made them funnier, but now the correspondents are in every single episode, sometimes more than one segment per episode, and I don’t really like it, it feels like he’s relying too much on them, and I want more focus on Trevor Noah.

Tell me, have you been following The Daily Show? What do you think of Trevor Noah?

The Daily Show has found Jon Stewart’s replacement

Hurray!!! The Daily Show correspondent Trevor Noah has been named the new host of the show, after the departure of Jon Stewart.

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I have to admit that I’m ecstatic about this piece of news. No one can ever replace Jon Stewart, but within the pool of Daily Show correspondents I could only image 3 of them stepping into Jon’s shoes: Jessica Jones, Trevor Noah and Hasan Minhaj, and between the 3, Noah is perhaps the one with the most range… so, yuuupppiiiii!!!

Jon Stewart will leave The Daily Show

Yesterday I woke to wonderful news about Spider-Man, while today the first piece of news I read is not that great…. Jon Stewart announced last night that he’ll be leaving The Daily Show sometime this year, which was then confirmed by Comedy Central.

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Doug Herzog and Michele Ganeless gave me an incredible opportunity 17 years ago to pilot this wonderful franchise and 17 years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job by 16 years and five months. Thank you. The upshot there being, I am a terrible employee. In my heart I know, it is time for someone else to have that opportunity … Not right away, we’re still working out details, I’m up in September, might be December or July, I don’t have a lot of specific plans, I’ve got a lot of ideas, a lot of things in my head. I’m going to have dinner on a school night with my family, who I have heard from multiple sources are lovely people. I’m not going to be here and try to sum up what this place has meant to be over the years, I couldn’t do that, we’ve got plenty of time and I’ve got myriad of people to thank… but this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host and neither do you. I don’t think I’m going to miss being on TV every day, I’m going to miss coming here every day. I love the people here, they’re the best, they’re collaborative and they’re kind… I love them and respect them so much.

It’s been an absolute privilege. The honor of my professional life. I thank you for watching it, for hate watching it whatever reason you’re turning in for. You get in this business with the idea that maybe you have a point of view and something to express. And to receive feedback from that is the greatest feeling I can ask for and I thank you.

  

Jon Stewart has helmed The Daily Show since 1999, making it an outstanding and reference program, which produced several great comedic figures we see nowadays, such as Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell or John Oliver. I’ve been watching the show sporadically for years, but began following daily since last year and I can honestly say that it’s a huge lost, in my opinion.

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Comedy Central also announced that The Daily Show will still exist, with someone else on that chair. I say it’s going to be tough to find someone who can fill the shoes that have been there for 17 years, though I’m certain that they can find someone amazing, specially if they look within the great team that the show already had.