By Natasha Eslami
In Born a Crime, Trevor Noah, the popular comedian and host of the cable TV show “The Daily Show,” recounts his childhood growing up in South Africa, the son of a white father and a Black mother. At the time, such a union was punishable by five years in prison in apartheid South Africa, so Noah’s very existence was “crime.”
Noah tells his story, which ranges from the humorous to the traumatic, with his cutting wit and incisive perspective. At times both poignant and outrageous, Noah deals with the intersection of his life and the history of a country reckoning with deep-seated racism and finds a parallel here to the United States.
His memoir does not shy away from exposing deeply ingrained racism, sexism, violence, economic inequity, and domestic violence. And yet, his personal story reminds us that even in the deepest tragedy and among the most menacing of fears, there is hope and strength within ourselves and those around us to set us on a better path.
The Malden Reads team wanted to select a book that would resonate across cultures and communities, especially one as deeply diverse as our own beloved city, and that would spark dialogue grounded in the relevant events of today. More than ever, books and media have an opportunity to galvanize thought and action to address and contest racism and effect change.