Weekly The Generation, Year 1, Issue 16
December 19, 2023
by Salman J. Choudhury
This week, I decided to read Born a Crime by Trevor Noah, which one of my peers recommended, and I wanted to share my thoughts on it. Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime is an extremely interesting and unique novel to read. The novel follows our author, Trevor Noah, as we get to see his many experiences growing up in South Africa during Apartheid.
Trevor’s case is extremely different compared to everyone else growing up during Apartheid because Trevor was born a mixed baby. During Apartheid, it was illegal for a man and a woman of two different races to get married, let alone have a child. Trevor Noah has a very entertaining way of writing, Often making crude and excessive jokes about characters or the events taking place in the story, never making any moment inside the novel dull. Trevor’s kind of writing is what really kept me interested in this novel and is one of the main reasons why I think this novel is great. An example of Trevor Noah’s clever way of writing this novel is perfectly represented in my favorite chapter, titled “Fufi.” During this chapter, Trevor loses his deaf dog, Fufi, and finds him in another person’s yard.
The catch is that the person doesn’t want to give Fufi back to Trevor, claiming that Fufi is actually his dog named Spotty. During this chapter, Trevor Noah’s overly comedic writing is shown by Trevor poking fun at the person trying to keep Fufi and even making fun of the new name he gave Fufi, “Spotty.” Trevor Noah is able to make such an overly simple situation overly dramatic and comedic. Trevor had a very interesting childhood. Growing up, Trevor rarely got to see his father because of the rules of Apartheid. Trevor and his mother, Patricia, would often have to sneak through specific routes just to visit his father in secret. If anybody saw Trevor and his mother, they would have to act like they didn’t know each other.
Trevor was an outcast because of his race. He couldn’t fit in with anyone else growing up because he was in the middle of racial discrimination. He couldn’t relate to anyone, nor did he have many friends, and he would often have to hide inside his house so others wouldn’t see him. Putting both of these together, I think, really puts into perspective how ruthless Apartheid was while Trevor was growing up.
Trevor’s family was extremely religious, specifically Christian. Trevor’s family would attend church every day, pray at home, and even go to three separate churches every Sunday. While this may sound miserable to some, Trevor loved to go to church and pray because it helped him and his family maintain hope and continue to push forward regardless of their circumstances.
Race, culture, and upbringing shape who we become in many ways. Race and culture can kind of be mixed together because, with race, there is always a culture that is paired with it. Culture brings you to your roots and can affect your morals and your ideals, depending on how tied you are to your culture. For example, Trevor’s family was very Christian. Christianity sets lots of rules, morals, and ideals to follow, which are conveyed in the novel with things such as praying. Upbringing is easily the most important of the three that help shape you as a person. Who you grow up around and the kind of environment you live in impact who you are as a person in a variety of ways.
Your upbringing often shapes your personality and influences how you view the world. For example, I’ve been told that I’ve acted more and more like my father as I’ve grown older. This is due to me being around him my whole life and adopting many of the same personality traits he has. Overall, I think that this novel adapts race, culture, and upbringing perfectly through the experiences we read about Trevor Noah’s life throughout the novel.