Born a Crime. Trevor Noah’s gritty, compelling story.
Born a Crime is not a book for kids. Why, therefore, am I writing a blog post about it?
Our older son, a rising 12th grader, was assigned this book as his summer reading. I dove right into it, having no idea it was a true story or that Trevor Noah is a well-known comedian who has hosted The Daily Show on Comedy Central.
Sorry, Trevor. I really didn’t know.
First, a warning. Trevor’s book is written for adults. His experiences range from horrific to heartbreaking to sublime, and he writes with very blunt, gritty language. Yes, “the f word” is in the book. In fact, I read that word in Trevor’s book more than I have ever read or heard the word in my life, cumulatively.
Apartheid is even more hateful than I realized, and I thought it was pretty horrid.
Domestic abuse is even more prevalent than I realized.
Helping people escape poverty requires practical help, even more practical than I realized.
And that’s not all.
So if you have children who aren’t yet ready for these topics, read it for yourself.
My eyes are far more open now than before, and that’s a worthwhile read.
“I grew up in a world of violence, but I myself was never violent at all. Yes, I played pranks and set fires and broke windows, but I never attacked people. I never hit anyone. I was never angry. I just didn’t see myself that way. My mother had exposed me to a different world than the one she grew up in. She bought me the books she never got to read. She took me to the schools that she never got to go to. I immersed myself in those worlds and I came back looking at the world a different way. I saw that not all families are violent. I saw the futility of violence, the cycle that just repeats itself, the damage that’s inflicted on people that they in turn inflict on others.
I saw, more than anything, that relationships are not sustained by violence but by love. Love is a creative act. When you love someone you create a new world for them. My mother did that for me, and with the progress I made and the things I learned, I came back and created a new world and a new understanding for her.”
“For the first time in my life I had money, and it was the most liberating thing in the world. The first thing I learned about having money was that it gives you choices. People don’t want to be rich. They want to be able to choose. The richer you are, the more choices you have. That is the freedom of money.”