HEAR, HEAR! #2 – Born a Crime, a fantastic memoir you should listen to

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What’s up, Aliénor? 

Well… As I said in my last Top Ten Tuesday, I can’t read books on my kindle anymore, sadly. Therefore I decided to start listening to audiobooks, and I’ll review them in this new series of posts.

Today I’m going to talk about Born a Crime : Stories From a South African Childhood, a memoir written and performed by Trevor Noah.  

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TW – racism, domestic abuse, graphic violence, cissexism, animal cruelty (and I’m sure I’m forgetting some unfortunately, so beware)

Granted, I always have a hard time reviewing memoirs because they’re so… personal in essence, you know? Yet what makes Born a Crime : Stories From a South African Childhood even harder to talk about are the horrifying truths it deals with, white supremacy in South Africa in particular. As a white-passing European woman, I genuinely do not think that my opinion is needed, or relevant, but I still wanted to take the time to write a few words because that memoir, friends, is amazing, and I cannot urge you enough to listen to it. Yes, listen, because even though I’m sure that Trevor Noah’s voice is just as much powerful on paper, listening to the audio was such a fantastic experience, you have to do it.

These slices of Trevor Noah’s childhood, the everyday struggles of a biracial boy in South Africa, both during and after apartheid, are related brilliantly because they feel so genuine. I’ve seen readers literally dissecting this memoir to give their opinion about every subject he mentioned. I won’t do that. It’s not my place, and above everything, I don’t see the point of judging everything from my French gaze : it’d be quite insulting for me to do, actually, given how white supremacy and imperialism were created in the first place, don’t you think? Ultimately, the only thing we readers have to do is to listen. And listen. And listen some more. Finally, it takes so much talent to tackle poverty, abuse, white supremacy, the apartheid, police brutality, to take an unflinching look at the horrors many westerners want to ignore, and yet convey it in such a warm, even funny at times, lovable voice. I loved it.

clé1I can’t recommend it enough, really. Hard to read at times, Born a Crime : Stories From a South African Childhood remains one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read. I can’t say I knew Trevor Noah – I knew of him, a little – but I’m glad I listened to his story. You should, too.

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