I'm glad I finally got around to reading this. I had seen Trevor Noah on British Comedy shows on the Australian TV before he took Jon Stewart's place on The Daily Show. I thought he was funny and smart. And good looking. My opinion hasn't changed.
As I stated before, I struggle rating memoirs, as it feels like I'm rating someone's life and choices, which is far from my intentions.
It was fascinating and enlightening to read about life in South Africa from the perspective of a biracial or, as they're called it in South Africa, colored person. He reaffirmed to me how ridiculous the whole race thing is. Most of us have heard of Apartheid and that it was bad. I was riveted to read about the day to day life, about the many languages and ethnic groups, about the ridiculous rules, the classifications based on the visual assessment of white clerks of someone's melanin levels. Things seem so complex and complicated over there.
Noah's mum sure is an interesting, full of contradictions character. She is determined and obstinate. And extremely religious, attending three Sunday services at three different churches. If that is not enough to put you off religion/church, I don't know what is! Anyway ...
This was an easy read. I confess I didn't find it particularly funny, but I didn't mind. Without having the first-hand experience of South Africa, I thought Noah was very balanced in his accounts. It's hard to tell if it's because he's mixed race, or because he was very young when the Apartheid was abolished, or just because he's experienced lots of different things and he's a smart, open-minded individual. It's probably a combination of all of the above and more. He never came across as bitter or angry. I guess because those feelings are being perceived as "negative and undesired" most memoir writers disguise them. Fair enough.
After reading this, I feel like I know a little bit more about South Africa. I have a couple of close white South African friends. They have quite different views when it comes to South Africa, Apartheid, I'm pretty sure their opinions are informed by their experiences, upbringing, British vs Afrikaans heritage etc - I find it fascinating.
I'm was just so excited to read and learn more about the amazing life of comedian and tv celebrity, Trevor Noah. I have been so fascinated about his birth in South Africa and how he made his working life to now end up on such a popular tv series in New York today. Such a wonderful story I thoroughly enjoyed this story so much.
We learn of the incredible troubles of living in South Africa. A county dealing with apartheid. How it affected each and every region, how they fought and how basically they ended up divided. Then fighting began cause lung the slaughtering to kill so many.
They had to them fight so hard. It latest for so many years. Even when apartheid ended the fighting still never stopped. It was time now to move on.
Such an amazing book. So full of hope and love for his family and the people home in South Africa too. Such an emotional read and a wonderful book. I couldn't put it down. A complete Winner!!
Trevor Noah is now star of the Daily Show in the USA. He also continues with his career in stand up comedy. He has immense comic talents, is amazingly articulate (in about six languages) and has an incredible gift for mimicry. And yet he grew up in apartheid South Africa and, having a white father and black mother, his very existence was against the prevailing laws of the country, hence Born a Crime. His rise from poverty to success is both truthfully and hilariously described here. The other star of this book is his indomitable mother and their verbal sparring was highly formative for Trevor.
Trevor Noah's moving story - of breathtaking honesty in one still so young - reminds us that adversity does not always or entirely define the conclusion - that it builds empathy and intelligence is beyond dispute in this story. That and the unconditional love of a mother I think. Trevor's life growing near Soweto as the most unlikely of the "Coloured" category reminds us too that separateness/categorizing of human beings is inhuman. That he grew up in Suid-Afrika and that I grew up in a generation earlier rural Australia might seem world's apart - but believe me - I kept finding absolute parallels in our lives - religious extremism, a step-father - even characters in my life out of that country making me think very seriously about its apart hate apartheid.
Trevor is a Man for All of Us. Thank-you for this powerful book. I look forward to the next stage - what you made of the world beyond South Africa!
As a white South African now living overseas, I found Trevor's account of his life growing up interesting and enlightening - and of course funny. He has the true comedian's knack of getting to the kernel of a problem but presenting it with humour so that even unpalatable topics are highlighted in such a way people still laugh, sometimes at themselves. The one gripe I had was that his story is told by theme rather than in a linear fashion and I found this sometimes led to a confusing timeline and also some repetition. However, the subtitle of the book is stories from a South African childhood, so I should have expected this. All round it's an enjoyable read with some funny episodes and some sad or tragic ones. From an inauspicious start, Trevor has gone on to do so well, largely it seems, because he was blessed with a wonderful mother. All power to him and to her. I look forward to seeing more of Trevor in shows and on TV and also to reading more of his books.
Noah is a great story teller. His book provides a great snapshot into life in Soweto, South Africa in the years leading up and following the end of apartheid. The reader sees that period through the eyes of a Noah, a mixed-race child born to Caucasian Swiss father and black South African mother. Noah writes eloquently about his childhood struggles. He talks about facing discrimination throughout his childhood as a result of his appearance- a fair skinned mixed race child - living in a predominantly black neighbour with a predominantly family around him. Despite the struggles and sadness of his story, Noah manages to inject a lot of humour throughout. That is my one criticism of his book. There are moments where it feels like a stand up comedy skit - where fiction and reality are morphed in order to get a laugh. One of the funniests moments involves Noah’s blind grandmother, who had an excellent sense of smell, and an attempt to avoid the trip to the outdoor drop-dunny. It’s hilarious!
Do you ever wonder what happened to melaya or whatever her name, the girl who had a crush on at school who migrated to US?
Your Mother is a strong woman in many ways. Maybe back then it was a shame if you weren't married so she settled with Able. These modern day, some women will walk away from first hit. I did. And never looked for another. I wouldn't have wanted like what happened to you happen to my only son. But look at you, you turned out to be a wonderful individual, knowledgeable plus funny. I watched your comedy hundred times. God bless you.