Shawn Fredricks | Staff Writer

This year’s common reading “Born A Crime”, by comedian and television host Trevor Noah, is an amazing book. It’s about his life growing up in South Africa. So there review done. You’ve got a good gist of the premise and story. Oh, you want more? I guess you have to read then eh. Okay fine, let me give my full thoughts, with verrrry minor spoilers you won’t even remember, you demanding reader.

That was my best Trevor Noah impression, do not ask me to do it again because it doesn’t get any better. Humor is a huge aspect of this book,
the jokes fly in this book with the sharp wit and biting commentary per usual of Trevor Noah’s sense of humor.

As the reader, we get to see how Trevor Noah became well, Trevor Noah. A real treat as his life story is filled with pain, triumph and ultimately fulfillment. As he navigates life as a societal chameleon who weaves in-between social groups and norms to survive. As he is per the title of the book “Born A Crime”.

Noah in the book continually contextualizes his experiences, and upbringing within wider societal changes happening within South Africa. Now this book is not offering a deep dive in the wider socio-political workings of South African society, merely, Trevor Noah is grounding his narrative within the wider narrative of South Africa. As this book is the story of Trevor Noah, not the story of South Africa.

This book carries a powerful story filled with gems of wisdom from dire real-life experiences. Trevor Noah from childhood to adolescence experienced more than a lifetime’s worth of complex situations that have molded a thoughtful and world-weary individual. That is to say, his story can be revisited and should be revisited. The wisdom in this book will open minds, make wiser hearts and always will get a heartwarming laugh out of anyone.

For College students, this book gives many lessons on how to navigate social situations in the world. The student body at NC State is
diverse meaning you will be surrounded by people from all over the world. While this book is not a guideline on how to interact with people
different from you, it does give profound insight into the benefits but also the sometimes difficulty of interacting with people different from you.

The book is also helpful for introspection about groups. Again it’s not a guide but insight into how Trevor found where he belonged whom he identified with and how finding his group impacted his sense of self. During some time in his school days, (this is where the spoilers come in) Trevor had to weave between three groups most of his life those groups being black people, colored people and white people. It is within the schoolyard he makes a decision, a lifelong decision, to be black as he walks over to the black kids. After conversing with them, he decides
that he self-determined his identity and he identifies with black people despite his father being white.

This decision to find your group, to find a sense of belonging with a community is not unique, we all do it. And how will we decide? Will it have to do with skin color, class, or maybe faith it could be all three or just one or two. However, we do have to choose because loneliness and isolation are not options. As these feelings come with dire consequences, not just to yourself but others as well. In this social media age, it is easy to get lost in being connected but not feeling connected. Electronic communication cannot replace real-world interaction.

Go out and find your pride, lions organize their groups in a pride. I know we are the wolf pack but run with it. You know like a pack of wolves get it? We are not “Born A Crime” like Trevor Noah but it is a crime to rob yourself the experience of finding community and belonging with others. So go out and find your people.

Rating: 8/10