Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Trevor Noah has produced an amazing book covering his youthful memories of growing up under apartheid in The Republic of South Africa. His stories are at times humorous, at others heart-rending, as he describes growing up as young man caught by his mixed racial birthright between two opposing world views that make even his conception by a black African mother and a white Swiss man a crime. In addition, he finds that when apartheid is finally thrown out and wite dominance exchanged for black majority rule, that he is still caught in the naming game of who is black, who is white and who is in the no man’s land of being in-between but not recognized by either group as one of their “own.” Throughout the book, author Noah is able to show how his racial mixture could be a key to unlocking opportunity. When it came to selling white contraband to black ghetto associates, the author was black enough to have credibility with fellow Soweto inhabitants, and make sales normally out of reach of his white masters. The author’s nimble wit, ability to think on his feet and opportunistic personality helped him glide through the cracks between the two coexisting societies and climb the stairway to success. Trevor Noah demonstrates how intellect, resiliency, and drive can overcome insurmountable odds. I recommend this book to both adults and youth of all races. It’s an excellent stepping off point for discussions about our human dilemmas that need to take place in America. Being able to communicate with persons who think, act, appear, speak and understand the world differently from our own narrow cultural perspective is a key to continued success for the American dream.
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