For those who already know and follow a little about Trevor Noah’s career, the quality of his book is no surprise. “Trevor Noah – Born of crime”. The comedian and The Daily Show host even signed a contract to adapt the best-selling book to theaters.
Now if you are one of those people who loved history and geography classes and believe you know a little about the culture and past of South Africa, the book is essential reading to understand everything that the textbooks did not explain.
Apartheid went far beyond segregating whites and blacks. Politicians were able to use all the experiences of atrocities carried out in other countries and apply them in an “improved” way in South Africa. At school, we learn that there was no coexistence between blacks and whites, Trevor Noah is one of the examples that there is no law that prohibits people from relating if they so wish.
Growing up not being able to call your father out in public. Having to walk with the neighbor because her skin tone was closer to his and the real mother walking a few steps behind as if she were the maid are just some of the few experiences a brown child had to face during that period in South Africa.
The interesting thing about the comedian’s narrative is the macro and micro perception of events. Yes, it is a personal portrait of a family’s life, but it is a reflection of policies that dictated the country for many years and that, even after the end of Apartheid, did not change from day to night.
It’s the story of a boy who had his mother and books for company most of his childhood. When the stepfather enters the story, nothing seems out of the ordinary and of course the problems do not arise until much later. Cultural differences surface, financial and abuse issues arise, and the elements of a tragedy are so clear that for a few moments, it’s impossible to believe that no one did anything to prevent it.
Trevor Noah makes an autobiography until the moment his career as a comedian begins to be successful, but before that, he has many failures, a portrait of suburban South Africa that textbooks do not convey.
Parallel to his story, he tells the story of his mother, his miserable childhood, and the opportunity to learn English that gave him the chance to have a better job. From her misdemeanors of daring to live in a white-only neighborhood and having a mixed-race child to the domestic violence suffered while she had her youngest son in her arms.