I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother, her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don't hold onto the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass kicking your mom gave you or the ass kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s ok. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some shit again.
I rarely review a book before I've finished it. But that's just how I feel about Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. Trevor Noah delivers a witty, raw, and wise memoir that chronicles his childhood in apartheid South Africa. Born of a white father and black mother under the oppressive racism of the time, Trevor's very entry into this world was illegal under the apartheid regime.
I am particularly fond of the writing of his fierce, devout, and vibrant mother and his extended network of family. As well as Noah's early life adaptations, as he describes a chameleon like ability to move deftly between worlds of color and class with the passport of language. He writes, "Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people."
I have been listening to this in audio, which I highly recommend. I would likely butcher his Xhosa or Zulu writings, not to mention his impersonation of family members. I'm about 3/4 of the way through the book and I have a feeling that I won't want it to end.
The book also gives me some hope for Noah's future at the Daily Show, an admittedly tough gig following up the legendary Jon Stewart. His optimistic, internationalist insights over this last year haven't landed with quite as much impact as our surly and sarcastic Jersey boy godfather. However, given the depth of Trevor's insight in this book, I see lots of room to grow into what promises to be a uniquely worldly political satire and point of view.
Born a Crime is mostly entertaining and sometimes poignant. Noah's personal accounting of a childhood under apartied reminds us that even in the face of humanity's ugliest atrocities, we live our lives.