When I started listening to audiobooks a few years ago, I was worried that true book purists might consider listening to a book “cheating.” I’m happy to say that I’ve completely gotten over that fear; in fact, I’m convinced that some books are actually better enjoyed and understood when heard rather than read.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is one of those audiobooks. The author, Trevor Noah, is the host of The Daily Show, and I’ll admit that I didn’t really know anything about him before reading this book. I feel certain that Noah and I have very different political and idealogical beliefs, and I’ve never been a huge fan of the Daily Show, but his book was fantastic. It wasn’t overly political, it was a fascinating look at childhood, family and apartheid.
The subtitle of the book is “Stories from a South African Childhood,” and that’s exactly what this book is. At times moving and at times hilarious, Noah’s life story jumps off the page when you hear it read in his own voice. My favorite thing about this audiobook is that Noah, who can speak many African languages and dialects, uses different languages so frequently in his story. If I had been reading this book on the page, I would have missed the richness of the writing–especially since the power of language is one key theme of this memoir.
In addition to his fantastic narration, the stories in the book are full of interesting characters and experiences that are vastly different from my own. This was one of those audiobooks I didn’t want to stop listening to, and I’d highly recommend it as a summer read. Be aware that there is some language, which can be tricky if you’re listening to the book around your kids! On the whole, if you’re looking for a highly personal glimpse into the world of apartheid, I can’t recommend this book enough. Don’t forget that you always get your very first Audible book for free, so if you’re not a member this might be a great place to start.