Thursday, June 16, 2022

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Trevor Noah knocked it out of the park with this one.

Not only did he describe his difficult early years with humor, but he served up a clear history lesson about apartheid and it's aftermath in South Africa.

There are a few troubling tales involving animals. Somehow, the suffering of animals can hit harder than the suffering of humans; maybe it shouldn't, but I think it's true for many that they can't stand to hear of an animal being mistreated. There were a few rough passages along those lines in the book; just a warning that it's there, but it's also easily skipped past if you want to, and worth it to experience the rest of the book. 

There are also stories of poverty, violence, domestic abuse — it can be harsh, but always told through the eyes of an author flexing a keen sense of humor and without self-pity.

Someone once told me the most affecting comedy is really tragedy told with a comic slant. I realized in my own writing, when I was a columnist, I often used comedy to lighten upsetting moments, and my most popular columns involved me finding the humor in a bad situation. Noah does that here, getting serious when he has to, but using his comic skills to keep it from drowning you in the harshness of his youth.

I switched between audio (read to perfection by Noah) and the eBook. The story works great both ways.

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