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Born A Crime: Book Review

Maggie Corson, '19, Staff Writer

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If you didn’t already read it this summer, comedian Trevor Noah’s new autobiography Born a Crime is a must read. Now a globally known comedic sensation, Noah tells the story of his life before both fame and indoor plumbing. Set in a small African village called Soledo, he explains to the reader what it was like to grow up in South Africa during Apartheid with a white father and a black mother. This was a time when it was illegal for different races to get married, let alone have children. He tells the story of what it was like to be, in his words, “born a crime.”

For those of you that didn’t know, Born a Crime was one of three choices of memoirs assigned to rising juniors to read this past summer.  When I went about picking a book to read this summer, I ending up deciding on this one because of how little I knew about Apartheid in South Africa. It isn’t taught in school, and though I had a basic idea of what it entailed, my guilt from this overall lack of knowledge surrounding the subject was what ultimately made me decide to read it.

The book is a culmination of connecting stories about Noah’s life from when he was in grade school up until today that give the reader a better understanding about the overall feel in South Africa during this time. Noah talked a lot about how he never really felt he fit in with any  group growing up, because he was neither black nor white, but a mix of both. As an outsider, this gave him a different lense through which he saw his life from compared to the other people he grew up with.

After finishing the book, I not only accomplished my goal of educating myself a little more about the world around me, but I was also inspired to go online watch some episodes of the Comedy Central show he now hosts, The Daily Show. Not only was this an enlightening read, it was also extremely interesting and captivating. Noah is a natural storyteller, and this comes across very clearly through his writing. Not only did I close the book feeling more educated, I was also entertained and intrigued, something that I have not gotten from many summer reading books in the past.

The reason I encourage any Strath Haven student, regardless of grade, to read this book is the same reason that I myself choose to read it in the first place. Here at Haven, teachers and staff like to constantly remind us how we live in a sort of bubble from the outside world, and that we must become more aware of our surroundings. Though after a while, these constant reminders for us to “count our blessings” may seem unnecessary and futile, this book helped open my eyes to these issue in a different way- rather than being reminded of it, I came to the conclusion on my own.

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Born A Crime: Book Review