This Born A Crime Book Club Questions and Discussion Guide will help you understand the book. It will also help you with some of the most important themes in the book, including race, identity, and what it means to be “other.”
Born a Crime is a deeply personal memoir. It’s an insightful commentary and literary tour de force by Trevor Noah. The book provides an intimate look into the comedian’s family’s past in South Africa. Later he moved abroad to pursue his dream – taking over for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.
The story of his childhood is told through vivid memories. At the same time, the snapshots and family albums are an irresistible treasure for fans. If you’re looking for a thoughtful read, then look no further than this Trevor Noah’s memoir. It’s a great read that’s mostly funny but sometimes tragic. A wonderful story that would be a perfect choice for a book club.
About the Author
Trevor Noah is a South African comedian, TV host, actor, and writer. He has hosted The Daily Show on Comedy Central since 2015. Before, Noah was one of the stars of the South African reality show Tonight with Trevor Noah. Then he joined Jon Stewart as an on-air contributor during his run as host of The Daily Show in late 2014. In 2017, he also won three NAACP Image Awards.
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Born a Crime by Trevor Noah – Book synopsis
Born a Crime is the memoir of Trevor Noah, the host of The Daily Show. In this New York Times bestseller, he tells his truth.
He describes the story of his childhood in South Africa under apartheid. From growing up on the streets of Johannesburg to depicting life in one of the world’s comics. Noah opens up about his upbringing and the struggles he faced as a mixed-race child in South Africa. He was born to a black mother and a white father, which was a crime at the time.
He candidly discusses race, family, and what it means to be born a crime. Despite the odds against him, Noah became one of the most successful comedians in the world. His memoir is both funny and eye-opening. And it provides readers with a unique perspective on apartheid South Africa.
List of discussion ideas and Born a Crime book club questions
Here are some suggested questions for book clubs to discuss Born a Crime:
1. What made Trevor Noah decide to write this book? Did someone inspire him to write about his life?
2. How many of you already knew Trevor Noah? How do you see him now after reading this book?
3. Before reading this book, were you excited that you were going to read Noah’s memoirs? Did it live up to your expectations?
4. How did you feel while reading the book?
5. What themes did you notice in the book?
6. What were your thoughts on the characters?
7. What did you think of Noah’s writing style? How would you describe it?
8. Did the book make you think about race, class, and gender in a different way?
9. What were your thoughts on Apartheid and its impact on South Africa? Did you have any prior knowledge of Apartheid? If yes, do you learn something new after reading this book?
10. What did you think of Trevor Noah’s experience growing up as a mixed race in South Africa?
11. Do you think there are parallels between what Noah experienced and what is happening in America today? If so, what are they?
12. The people in Noah’s neighborhood certainly knew that there lives a light-skinned boy. Why didn’t anyone report the matter?
13. As we know Noah was born of mixed race and lived in South Africa with a black mother. How do you think the people there viewed it? And what were his feelings at that time? And now that he lives here in America, what will be his feelings here as a person of mixed race?
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14. The themes of this book are based on racism, poverty, crime, and domestic abuse, yet it is a very funny book. Discuss how Noah maintained such a sense of humor in spite of these harsh circumstances.
15. Noah’s brother Andrew and his youngest brother Isaac are both absent from most of the book. Why didn’t Noah think it necessary to write more about them?
16. Noah’s parents’ anti-law relationship could have fueled violence. But thanks to his mother’s efforts, Noah knew he was not unimportant. He also had no contact with his father for several years. What negative effects do you think all these issues have on growth of Noah?
17. As we know that Noah spent very little time with his father. What do you think about the relationship between father and son? What do you think were the reasons for Robert’s reluctance to share his personal affairs with Noah?
18. This book also gives us a lot of historical context about apartheid and South Africa. And it also suggests that Noah didn’t learn about apartheid the normal way. The experiences that Noah describes about his life are very important to understanding racism and history. What do you think is the importance of memoir-based books in learning about injustices in history?
19. How does this book compare to other works that deal with similar topics?
20. How does Noah’s story differ from other memoirs or stories about growing up in South Africa?
21. How does Noah’s experience as a mixed-race child illustrate the larger history of race and apartheid in South Africa?
22. Noah learned different languages to cope with his difficult situations. Because when we speak to someone in his native language, other people consider us as our own. Talk about stories of how Noah’s language skills helped him in difficult situations.
23. What were some of the most memorable moments from the book?
24. Trevor Noah himself recorded the audiobook. What did you think of him as a narrator?
25. Are there any other books or stories that you would recommend to readers who enjoyed Born a Crime?
26. What are some historical stories from South Africa that you would suggest readers read to better learn the history of apartheid?
27. How does this book align with other books about immigrants and identity?
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What are some suggestions for book clubs (difficult discussions, important questions)?
When reading Born a Crime, it is important to keep in mind the different challenges that book clubs may face. Difficult discussions may come up about race, class, and gender. It is important to be respectful of everyone’s opinions and to have an open mind.
3 Books like Born a Crime
Here are 3 books we’ve picked that you might want to read next.
It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
You have read Trevor Noah’s popular adult memoir Born a Crime. Now, this is its young readers’ version. In this book, the presenter of The Daily Show relates the experiences of growing up as a mixed-race child in South Africa during and after apartheid. He did an excellent job of condensing the content without losing the adult plot.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
A truly poignant and perfectly observed memoir written by a young neurosurgeon. He is facing a terminal cancer diagnosis and is trying to solve the question, “What makes life worth living?” Paul Kalanithi was a neurosurgeon and author. While he was working on his biography he died in March 2015. Yet the words he wrote serve as a guide and a gift to us all.
My Traitor’s Heart by Rian Malan
A classic nonfiction narrative on the racial and political paradoxes of post-Apartheid South Africa. The author of this unique account is Rian Malan. He is a South African journalist and writer of Afrikaner descent. It’s an outstanding work that is as beautiful, terrifying, and insightful as it is hard to put down. Readers all across the world have also praised My Traitor’s Heart as a literary masterpiece.
Discussion questions for Born A Crime | Conclusion
Born a Crime is more than just a memoir. It is a thought-provoking story about what makes us who we are and the ramifications of living in different circumstances. We hope that these Born a Crime book club questions will help your group members. They will also help your group think deeply about the novel and its implications for our world today. If you like to buy a copy the link is below.