TITLE: BORN A CRIME
AUTHOR: TREVOR NOAH
REVIEWER: WAKINI KURIA
PRICE: KSH. 1,850
This is an amazing well-told story of a young coloured boy growing up in South Africa. He is brought up by his mother; a typical black woman who spares nothing in disciplining him before ‘they come for him’ as she puts it.
As the title suggests, Trevor is born ‘a crime’; witnessing the brutal realities of apartheid in South Africa for about 50 years. He is robbed of his right to having a doting father in public. His parents show affection beneath covers and when no one is watching.
The boy and his mother have seen it all; living in both the ghetto and in the suburbs. Trevor is not your ordinary teen in the hood. With the identity of a coloured boy, he desperately wants to fit in thus cultivating the sense of belonging by learning various indigenous languages, which work to his advantage.
Trevor recounts stories of his childhood in humour and with candid irony. He makes such a badass thriller storyteller. He employs humour so effortlessly, maybe that could be attributed to his being a top-notch stand up comedian!
Here goes, Trevor is your typical African brother who is just out to blacken your heart. He once poops in the house and hides the shit in a dustbin. At another instance, he is out explaining eating of sheep eyes from ‘smileys’ as they call cooked sheep heads. The disgusting eyes of a sheep oozing nothing but pus with a popping sound in your mouth. Yuck brother! Yuck!
You won’t miss the pain woven cleverly in between the witty and most humorous words. He keeps you glued onto the book like a magnet.
He is one cheeky boy mocking his mother who won’t have it any other way on Sundays other than to go to church and visit several if time and transport allows.
As a creative, l feel the pinch of his engaging in pirate-business. Selling of pirated DVDs didn’t go down well with me especially now that we are on the campaign trail to fighting piracy in Kenya.
Another aspect l found betraying was his frequent comparing self to the US. He holds the states in dangerous high esteem. He keeps going on and on about KFC, McDonalds, videos in the USA, of how in the US a suspect is shot if they reach for their pocket but in Africa the cops start smiling knowing a bribe is on the way. Well, it’s true but please don’t compare!!
Born a Crime speaks about human experiences from crime, addiction, domestic violence, drugs, brutality, racism, alcoholism, corruption, religion and tradition.
If you want to really enjoy this book, listen to the audio. Its’ a hype book after all, just for sheer entertainment! His voice just like his funny self will keep you listening and reading.
Otherwise, Born a Crime is absolutely your kind of coffee table memoir. A book that makes one crack open with laughter and even tears in public.