(Once Upon A Book Club): Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah (5 out of 5)

A reviewer on Goodreads said that comedians write the best books. Having read a fair amount of those in my life, I would agree. This was no exception, although it is an exception. Say what? Most know Trevor Noah from “The Daily Show”. Though parts of his memoir are humorous, it’s also a somber look at growing up in South Africa, as a mixed child, during the days during and after apartheid. It’s a miracle that Noah came out as well adjusted as he is, given the daily tumult he grew up in. It helps to have a healthy sense of humor when you don’t know what way the world will be facing on a daily basis. The reader can see the beginning of Noah’s comic roots, as well as the strength and sheer ballsiness of his mother in carving out a way for her and her little family to live in as much of a peaceable state as possible. The title comes from the fact that Noah’s mother is black and his father a white Swede, and his lineage is a crime. He spends his entire life growing up well aware of that fact, and the chapters in which he speaks of his odd relationship with his dad, are heartbreakers in their own way. I was a kid in the 80’s, and most of my memories of the word “apartheid” and its relationship to the world I was growing up in, were limited to mentions in multiple U2 songs. This was a lesson for me in many ways. Not just of that world through the eyes of a young boy growing up in the heart of a politically charged time, but also in the ways of South Africa itself- the proud inhabitants, the many tribes, the languages, the cultures. It was a well-rounded look at everything and everyone growing up in South Africa at the time, and beyond that time. It is a great book club read. I loved it. 

(Once Upon A Book Club) will be a regular feature, coinciding with my newly launched bookstore book club, “The Literature Bandits”. I just realized I never documented my first pick, Sinclair Lewis “It Can’t Happen Here”. I’ll have to remedy that. We are meeting next Saturday to discuss Trevor Noah’s book. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did. 

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~ by generationgbooks on May 10, 2017.

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