Title: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
Author: Trevor Noah
Publisher: Spiegel and Grau 2016
Genre: Nonfiction Memoir
Rating: 5/5 stars
Reading Challenges: Perpetual (Nonfiction Adventure); Popsugar - Book by a person of color
Born a Crime is 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. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.
Such a powerful collection of stories. Noah has an amazing ability to tell a funny story and embed a serious conversation about a hard topic right there in the middle. His stories read a lot like Jenny Larson's from Let's Pretend This Never Happened. Her stories aren't about growing up under and after apratheid in South Africa, but they have a similar tone. I laughed along with his youthful misadventures. I marveled at his ability to move in and out of communities. I commiserated with this troubles at school. And then I was absolutely gutted by his frank discussions of racism and hate. Noah gives us an inside view of a tumultuous transition. I had to pause multiple times to place his own stories into a larger tragic context. Very good, but very powerful. And do not get me started on the final story about his mother. I was in tears reading it. I knew what was coming, but that didn't mean I was any more prepared for the story. An amazing read! And in a few days I get to discuss it with friends at book club. Hoping for a great conversation.
Next up on the TBR pile: