Born a Crime:
chapters 1- 3
read-along at
Book Bloggers International

Wow, I have not done a read-along for ages.

A couple of weeks ago, a member of our book club (where at each meeting, each member presents a book they enjoyed reading the previous month), was super excited about Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah.

It sounded so good I added it to my list of books to read. And then a few days later, I realized Book Bloggers International was organizing a nice leisurely read-along on it. So I didn’t have a choice but participate!

So here are the questions proposed today on the first 3 chapters of the book, with my answers (click on this link to participate):

1. Easy peasy question: are you enjoying the book so far? What do you think of Noah’s writing style?

I am really enjoying the book so far, especially thanks to the author’s writing style, which I would qualify as raw: so honest, so hilarious, and on target.
The reader has to be ready for a few slaps in the face, like for instance in the passage on secondhand cars: it is so funny, and suddenly at the turn on a sentence you are right in the middle of a tragedy.

2. What did you know about South Africa and apartheid before going into this book? Is there anything that’s surprised you so far or that you’ve learned?

Growing up in France, closer to Africa then the US, I heard so much about Mandela, but I didn’t know too much about some aspects that are still current today.
Actually only a few months ago, thanks to one of my students who hard recently traveled to South Africa, did I realize that townships were still reality. You don’t need too many google pictures to understand how tough things still are…

It is certainly not surprising, as so many problems, if not all, all over the world, have their roots in European colonization, but it was enlightening to read about the roots of apartheid in the 1650s.
In the first lines “apart hate, is what it was”, made me curious about the etymology of the word apartheid. I didn’t know that it’s simply the Afrikaans word for “separateness”, or “the state of being apart”.

3. How have you responded to each chapter? 

I like the insertion of data at the end of each chapter. Reading the Immorality Act of 1927 made me see things had improved a bit between humans, and I was actually surprised that for once, the woman was slightly less punished than the man!
Otherwise, my reactions are covered above.

4. Do you have any favorite quotes from the book you’d like to share?

“For the million people who lived in Soweto, there were no stores, no bars, no restaurants. There were no paved roads, minimal electricity, inadequate sewerage. But when you put one million people together in one place, they find a way to make a life for themselves.” (chapter 3)

5. What’s your initial impression of Noah’s mother? What about Noah himself?

His Mum had such an amazing faith and courage!
Noah sounds like a regular kid, doing all kinds of things a kid would do (and I bet there’s much more coming!), but honest about them, well at least to the reader, cf. the shit story!!
I like the way he tries to draw her mother’s reasoning to its logical conclusion, something I would have done too, lol.

6.Noah says that everything that’s gone wrong in his life has been because of a secondhand car. Have you ever felt like that about anything?

Not really, because very early on, I realized that to survive, I had to always try to look at what was happening in a positive way, to look for the one tiny positive element hidden somewhere in the tough situation.

Eiffel Tower Orange

If you want to see my comments on the other chapters, please check: